Islamist gang of six jailed for at least 18 years each for plotting bomb attack on EDL rally

Attack of this kind risks starting spiral of tit-for-tat violence, says judge

Six Islamist extremists have been jailed for a total of more than 100 years for plotting a gun and bomb attack on an English Defence League rally that could have sparked spiralling communal violence in Britain.

The six travelled to Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, for the rally attended by several hundred people with a car full of weaponry including a pipe bomb, two shotguns and knives but turned up too late to carry out the attack.

As they drove home to Birmingham, one of their cars was pulled over by police because a plotter failed to fill out an online application form properly and the car showed up as having no insurance.

The weapons were found several days later along with declarations of war addressed to the "kafir (non-believer) female and self proclaimed Queen Elizabeth" and Davd Cameron. The plotters were rounded up by West Midlands officers after a huge anti-terrorism operation.

Sentencing the six men today, Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC said: "Apart from the immediate consequences and the terror you would have caused, an attack of this kind risks starting a spiral of tit-for-tat violence - the very action and reaction that you spoke of.

"That simply cannot be a feature of life in a society where the overwhelming majority choose to live in peace and harmony with their fellow men and women, whether they share the same religious beliefs or not."

Jewel Uddin, 27, Omar Mohammed Khan, 31, and Zohaib Ahmed, 22, were jailed for 19-and-a-half years. Mohammed Hasseen, 24, Anzal Hussain, 25, and Mohammed Saud, 23, were given jail terms of 18 years and nine months.

The men, all from the West Midlands, admitted planning the attack at a hearing on April 30. They will serve at least two-thirds of the sentence before they are released.

The plotters were inspired by freely available extremist material available online that they shared among themselves, the court heard.

The group had planned the attack for eight weeks including research to find the telephone number of the EDL's leader Tommy Robinson and tracking the location of EDL rallies. The planned "terrible vengeance" on the EDL for what they saw as blasphemous words and actions against Islam.

Mr Robinson was in the public gallery and called out "God Save the Queen" when the sentences were announced.