British man charged over alleged plan to launch terror attack against US military personnel in UK

Junead Ahmed Khan allegedly planned to run over a member of the US military with a car

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The Independent Online

A 24-year-old British Muslim has appeared in court charged with plotting to run over a US serviceman with his car and then hack his victim to death with a knife.

Junead Khan is also charged with planning to join Isis in Syria along with his uncle, 22-year-old Shazib Khan, who allegedly sought to be a suicide bomber.

The men appeared at Westminster magistrates’ court in London. A 30-year-old man who was originally arrested with them has been released without charge.

Junead Khan, of Luton, is charged with two counts of preparing acts of terrorism between 1 August 2014 and 10 May this year, and between 10 May and 14 July this year.

Shazib Khan, also of Luton, is charged with one count of preparing acts of terrorism between 1 August and 10 May this year.

Mark Dawson, prosecuting, said the men were accused of planning to travel to Syria. He told the court: “In relation to Shazib Khan, an offence pursuant to Section 5 of the Terrorism Act… relates to preparing to travel to Syria to join Islamic State [Isis} – potentially for martyrdom purposes.

“In relation to Junead Khan, the first charge is the same, but potentially not for martyrdom purposes. The second Section 5 offence relates to planning an act of terrorism in the UK.”

Mr Dawson said that Junead Khan was accused of “planning to stage a traffic accident, planning to run over a serviceman and use a knife to kill the serviceman”. During the alleged attack, Junead Khan “certainly had in mind the wearing of a suicide vest”, Mr Dawson continued.

The arrests are said to be connected to the cancellation of an air show to celebrate the US Independence Day on 4th July at RAF Feltwell in Norfolk.

The two-day event, with the Red Arrows taking part, was due to be hosted by members of the United States Air Force based at RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk.

A statement posted on the RAF Lakenheath website at the time of the cancellation read: “The decision was made due to the most current local threat assessments. The base continually surveys the security environment alongside host nation counterparts and must take appropriate measures based on those assessments.”

Apologising for the cancellation, USAF Colonel David Eaglin added: “We have to put public safety first and foremost”.

The two men were arrested at midday on 14 July at their homes in Luton, Bedfordshire. 

Deborah Walsh, deputy head of counter-terrorism at the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “It is alleged that Junead Khan and Shazib Khan had been planning on travelling to Syria to join the proscribed organisation Islamic State in Levant [Isis].

“It is further alleged that Junead Khan was planning a terrorist attack on US military personnel in the UK and he has been charged with an additional terrorism offence to reflect this.”

Judge Howard Riddle ordered the two men to appear at the Old Bailey on 18 August.