Poison in pens plot foiled by police

A COMBINED operation by the British security service and police uncovered a terrorist cache in London. It was destined for Algeria to be used in acts of political violence, an Old Bailey court heard yesterday.

Tins of baby food, stereo equipment and felt-tip pens were to be used in an attempt to smuggle chemicals "which could be used for both the making of explosives and for use in poisons to kill people," said Nigel Sweeney, for the prosecution.

He alleged that seven consignments - including chemicals and other items - were sent from Britain to Algeria between 1992 and 1997.

Armed police swooped on addresses in south London on 22 May last year and two Algerians were arrested. A third was arrested in Bristol two months later. "They were all in this country illegally and in possession of false identity documents. They were either members or supporters of a group called the Groupement Islamique Arme," said Mr Sweeney.

Their objective was to obtain materials, including chemicals and manuals on explosives, weaponry and radio equipment, "for the purpose of smuggling them from this country to Algeria for use by the GIA in ... acts of terrorism", the court was told.

The three - Sofiane Kebilene and Farid Boukemiche, both from Peckham, and Sofiane Souidi, from Bermondsey, all in south London - have denied possession of articles for suspected terrorist purposes on 22 May last year. Kebilene and Souidi are in their early thirties and Boukemiche is in his late twenties.

Mr Sweeney alleged that the three's activities were financed by obtaining banking facilities, credit and store cards fraudulently. Kebilene had at least 17 different bank accounts, both in his own name and in a false name, together with 22 credit or store cards and a bank loan for more than pounds 18,000. By the time of their arrest, cards and loans had been used to obtain goods and services to the value of pounds 100,000.

The security service operation included a 66-day video and mobile surveillance, and the interception of a second purchase of chemicals in March last year. These chemicals were substituted with a harmless substance before being delivered to the defendants, Mr Sweeney told the jury.

Part of the switched delivery was found at the Bermondsey address where Souidi was living. Baby powder containers and felt-tip pens were also found there. Their original contents had been replaced with part of what was believed to be chemicals "so they could be smuggled to Algeria", said Mr Sweeney.

Books on guerrilla warfare, bombs and chemicals, and materials about the GIA, were also allegedly discovered, along with pounds 20,000 in cash, FFr13,000, and a small amount in dollars and German marks.

Mr Sweeney said that fingerprints of all three defendants were found on various items.

The trial continues.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot