Two guilty of embassy bombing

Two Palestinian terrorists were convicted at the Old Bailey yesterday of plotting to bomb Jewish targets in Britain in a bid to sabotage the Middle East peace process.

Jawad Botmeh and Samar Alami used their English university educations to make the high explosives for their bombing campaign. The two ex- students will be sentenced on Monday. A third defendant, Mahmoud Abu- Wardeh, was cleared of taking part in the conspiracy and released on order of the judge, Mr Justice Garland.

Both Mr Botmeh and Mr Alami showed no emotion as the jury returned their verdicts after six and a half hours of deliberations.

Mr Alami, 30, of South Kensington, central London, Mr Botmeh, a businessman, 28, of Bloomsbury, central London, and Mr Abu-Wardeh, 25, of Putney, south- west London, had all denied conspiring to cause explosions between January 1993 and May 1995. They also denied possessing an explosive substance - Triacetone Triperoxide - of a nature likely to endanger life or cause serious damage on or before 25 May 1995, and possession of firearms.

The jury were not asked to return verdicts on the possession charges against Mr Botmeh and Mr Alami after they were convicted of the bombing plot. But Mr Abu-Wardeh was cleared of all the charges. Mr Abu-Wardeh nodded to the jury as they cleared him of all charges against him. He hugged his co-defendants before leaving the dock.

Two car bombs rocked the Israeli Embassy, in Kensington Gardens, west London, and a Jewish charity in north London in July 1994 - causing millions of pounds of damage. "Mercifully no one was killed or seriously injured but they were grave acts of terrorism," Mr Justice Garland said when summing up the two month trial.

Mr Botmeh and Mr Alami were members of a Palestinian terror cell in Britain. They believed that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat "was misguided in his attempts to come to any accommodation with Israel and wished to hinder the process", David Calvert-Smith, prosecuting, had told the court.

Earlier in the trial Mrs Nadia Zekra, a mother of two, who was originally accused of planting the bomb, was found not guilty on the orders of the judge after he described the evidence against her as suspect. Mr Justice Garland accepted a defence submission that Mrs Zekra, 49, who had denied causing the explosion, had no case to answer.

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