'Another 9/11': Islamic jihadists accused of planning huge coordinated suicide bomb campaign in London

 

The ringleaders of a home-grown terror cell were secretly recorded plotting a coordinated suicide attack by eight militants carrying rucksacks stuffed with explosives in what was designed to be the British version of the 9/11 attacks, a court heard today.

The Birmingham-based plotters discussed plans to blow themselves up or set off bombs in crowded areas to cause mass deaths and “carnage in the name of Allah” that would outstrip the death toll in the attacks on the London transport network in 2005, Woolwich Crown Court heard.

Police bugging devices caught one of the men suggesting that the 7/7 strikes seven years ago, which killed 52 people, had “gone a bit wrong” because the suicide attackers had forgotten to put nails in the bombs to cause maximum damage, said Brian Altman QC, for the prosecution.

“The intention was plainly to kill and injure people while achieving their own martyrdom if at all possible,” said Mr Altman on the opening day of the trial at Woolwich Crown Court, southeast London.

Two of the men, Irfan Naseer, 31, a pharmacy graduate, and Irfan Khalid, 27, twice travelled to terrorist training camps in Pakistan and sought to instruct a third man, Ashik Ali, 27, when they returned about making bombs in his Birmingham flat, the court heard.

The three, among 11 men and a woman rounded up by police officers from September last year, were said to be central figures in the plot and were responsible for recruiting others, planning the attack and raising money.

The three defendants, who deny terrorist offences, were said to be inspired by Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born extremist, who was killed in a drone attack along with other militants in the Yemen 12 days after the first of the arrests in Birmingham.

The court heard that Mr Naseer, known as ‘Chubbs or Big Irfan’ and his fellow traveller ‘Little Irfan’ made martyrdom videos which they left behind in Pakistan ready for release after carrying out their plans for a major terrorist attack.

However their plans for a terrorist spectacular were hampered by a string of setbacks. They included the loss of some £9,000 by their chief fundraiser because of “unwise and incompetent” trading on the foreign currency exchanges.

The court heard that the money amounted to the majority of the sums they raised illegally on the streets of Birmingham in the name of the charity Muslim Aid. They planned to use some of the money to set up a dawah, an Islamic teaching centre in Birmingham, which Mr Khalid described as a “beautiful cover” to recruit men for jihad.

Other setbacks included the swift return of four men sent to Pakistan for terror training after one of the men “messed up” and called his family from Pakistan and they organised their return.

The court heard that the three defendants were placed under long-term surveillance before the two Irfans returned from their second long trip to Pakistan.

Bugging devices were put inside the house used as a bomb-making factory at White Street, in Birmingham, and two cars owned by Naseer and the fundraiser Rahin Ahmed, who has already pleaded guilty to terrorist offences, the court heard.

The three defendants were heard talking about killing people using guns, poison and even by fixing blades to a vehicle and driving it into a crowd of people, the court heard. The plan featured in an online extremist magazine, Inspire.

But the men returned to the idea of suicide bombings and setting homemade bombs on timers because of the apparent difficulty of recruiting enough people to carry out the attack, the court heard.

“Although the finer details had not been worked out and agreed upon, the defendants were proposing to detonate up to eight rucksack bombs in a suicide attack and/or detonate bombs on timers in crowded areas in order to cause mass deaths and casualties,” said Mr Altman. “As you will hear, one of them was even to describe their plan as ‘another 9/11’.”

The plot was broken up before they named any “iconic targets” and while the defendants were still suggesting that the day of the attack was up to two years away, the court heard.

In the days before the arrests, the three men had been experimenting in the kitchen of Mr Ali’s flat to develop a device using the ingredients from a sports injury cold pack which they wrongly believed contained ammonium nitrate, said Mr Altman.

During police interviews after his arrest, Ashik Ali confessed that the plot involved him wearing a suicide vest and carrying a gun but he denied that he would have carried out an attack, the court heard.

The case continues.

News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
Jamie and Emily Pharro discovering their friend's prank
video
News
i100
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
News
people
Life and Style
techApp to start sending headlines, TV clips and ads to your phone
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan in What If
filmReview: Actor swaps Harry Potter for Cary Grant in What If
News
Our resilience to stress is to a large extent determined by our genes
science
Travel
travel
Sport
sportBesiktas 0 Arsenal 0: Champions League qualifying first-leg match ends in stalemate in Istanbul
News
Pornography is more accessible - and harder to avoid - than ever
news... but they still admit watching it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment