Bomb plot doctor jailed

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An NHS doctor was jailed for at least 32 years today for plotting to murder hundreds of people in terrorist car bomb attacks on London and Glasgow.

Bilal Abdulla, 29, was unmasked as a terrorist who wanted to murder innocent civilians in revenge for fighting in his native Iraq.

A jury at Woolwich Crown Court found him guilty of conspiracy to murder and to cause explosions yesterday at the end of a nine-week trial.

Mr Justice Mackay told him he was "religious extremist and a bigot" who held the most extreme form of Islamist views.

The judge said: "Many people felt and still feel strong opposition to the invasion of Iraq.

"You do, you are sincere in that and you have strong reasons for holding that view.

"But you were born with intelligence and you were born into a privileged and well-to-do position in Iraq and you are a trained doctor."

The judge said Abdulla's radical religious and political beliefs meant he continued to be a danger to the British public.

He said: "All of the evidence makes you a very dangerous man, you pose a high risk of serious harm to the British public in your present state of mind.

"That fact plus the circumstances of the offences themselves means that the only possible sentence on each of these two counts is a life sentence."

The junior doctor drove one of two home-made Mercedes car bombs, each packed with gas cylinders, petrol and nails, into London's West End last summer.

He admitted parking the car outside Tiger Tiger, a nightclub packed with more than 500 people, turning on the gas cylinders and splashing the interior with petrol.

His accomplice, Indian PhD engineering student Kafeel Ahmed, parked the second vehicle at a nearby bus stop.

As the two men escaped, they dialled the numbers of hand-made mobile-phone detonators left in the vehicles.

But the devices failed because of loose electrical connections and the smothering effect of the thick gas and petrol fumes.

The discovery of two car bombs in Haymarket and adjoining Cockspur Street sparked a nationwide manhunt.

The two men fled to their bomb factory in a rented family home in Houston, on the outskirts of Glasgow. Abdulla worked nearby at the Royal Alexandra Hospital.

The next day they launched a desperate suicide attack on Glasgow Airport in a powerful Jeep loaded with gas cylinders and petrol.

Counter terrorist police said the London attacks were intended to be the first strikes in a wave of terrorist atrocities.

The court heard how the two men purchased five second-hand cars and had enough material for two more detonators.

Abdulla, who holds dual Iraqi and British nationality, was motivated by the suffering of his fellow Iraqis, the court heard.

Abdulla's close friend Jordanian neurologist Mohammed Asha, 28, was acquitted of the same charges.

He was beginning his legal battle against deportation today after pledging to stay in Britain to continue his medical training.

Mr Justice Mackay said the jury was convinced that Abdulla and Ahmed wanted to murder people on an "indiscriminate basis".

Speaking about the West End attacks, he said the men thoroughly researched the gas cylinder bombs and the mobile phone detonators on the internet.

He said: "Your murderous intent was best shown by the obstructing of the safety mechanisms on two of the cylinders and by the 800-plus nails in one car and 1,000 in the second, designed to do nothing else but constitute a deadly form of shrapnel to maim, injure and kill."

The judge said the men selected Tiger, Tiger because it was symbolic, busy and extremely vulnerable.

He said: "The club represented everything that you and Ahmed held in contempt and despised about Western culture: drink, association between the sexes, and music. Your will documents both showed that."

The judge said that when the bombs failed to explode, the terrorists immediately turned to a potentially deadly second plan.

He said: "You were both undeterred and immediately put the second attack into effect, which had probably been designed as the grand finale of your conspiracy."