Revealed: How plot to slaughter English Defence League supporters failed as radical Islamists' gang turned up late for rally

Aim was to spark sectarian war with attacks at extreme right-wing gathering

Crime Correspondent

A murderous plot by radical Islamists to launch a gun and bomb attack on hundreds of people attending a right-wing rally failed after they turned up too late.

The plot was uncovered by luck after an online insurance form was incorrectly filled and resulted in one of the bombers’ cars being impounded during a motorway police check as they returned home after the aborted operation.

Guns, machetes, swords and a home-made nail bomb were found in the car’s boot two days after it was seized sparking a huge security operation that netted the six Birmingham-based militants. Declarations of war were also found in the boot addressed to the “kafir (non-believer) female and self-proclaimed Queen Elizabeth” and David Cameron.

The find was the first indication of any plan to attack the English Defence League (EDL) rally in Dewsbury even though one of the plotters had been under “low-level” surveillance operation by police and security services five days earlier.

Jewel Uddin, who was being watched because he had been spotted collecting cash on the street for another terrorist plot, had been seen by undercover police officers walking into a shop where he is believed to have bought a set of knives that were to be used in the attack.

Uddin, 27, was among six people who pleaded guilty via video link from prison at Woolwich Crown Court. Bomb maker Omar Khan, 28; Zohaib Kamran Ahmed, 22; and Mohammed Saud, 22 – who are all unemployed - and gym workers Anzal Hussain, 31, and Mohammed Hasseen, 23, admitted preparing for the terrorist attack on the rally in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, on June 30 last year. The judge, Nicholas Hilliard QC, said the six could expect "significant" prison sentences when they are sentenced in June.

Hussain’s brother was jailed last week after he travelled to Pakistan for training for a separate suicide bomb plot. He was part of another group of Birmingham-based jihadists caught before they sent eight rucksack bombers into crowds for an attack designed to rival the July 7, 2005, attacks on the London transport network.

Poor planning – and an early finish for the EDL rally – averted the Dewsbury attack using a nail-filled homemade firework bomb that experts fear could have led to a race war between Islamist radicals and the fragmented extreme right-wing movement.

The bomb was filled with more than 400 nails and ball-bearings and police believe the men could have intended to light the fuse and toss it into the crowd. It had the potential to maim or even kill.

It emerged that the potential bombers had used the internet to plot their attack and had carried out searches on the leader of the party, Tommy Robinson. Robinson did not attend the rally and his number two and cousin Kevin Carroll addressed the crowds.

However, the crowds of up to 700 people, a counter-protest by the United Against Facism group and hundreds of police officers had all left by the time the bombers arrived in two cars.

The plotters were denied a second opportunity to attack after one of their cars was followed and pulled over by a South Yorkshire traffic policeman during a routine check on the M1 as they were driving home after a chip supper in the town.

One of the plotters had paid for cover but filled in the form incorrectly so it showed up as having no insurance. Khan was driving the ageing Renault Laguna that was stopped on the M1 with Uddin as his passenger. Police dropped them off at a nearby railway station to let them get home before they realised what they had netted.

The stash of weapons - including sawn-off shotguns, machetes, knives, samurai swords and elements for pipe bombs – along with extremists CDs and ten declarations of intent to attack the right-wing demonstrators were found only on the Monday.

The note - addressed to “enemies of Islam, the Queen and David Cameron” – detailed why the “English Drunkards League” was a target.

"This is a message to the enemies of Allah and his messenger. This is a message to the kafir (non-believer) female devil and self-proclaimed Queen Elizabeth and her accursed jubilee, fooling a nation of blind sheep to your self-proclaimed royalty and majesty," it said.

“We have heard and seen you openly insulting the final Messenger of Allah… We love death more than you love life. The penalty for blasphemy of Allah and his Messenger Muhammed is death.”

A frantic police operation followed after the West Midlands counter-terrorism team was contacted at 6pm that day to try to trace the two men.

They identified Uddin through CCTV and other cameras revealed that a second car had been travelling with them to Dewsbury for the day of the attack. All six men were arrested by Wednesday evening – the five who travelled to Dewsbury and a sixth man who did not go to the town because he was attending a funeral.

The plotters were said to have been inspired by the US-born preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a US drone attack in Yemen in 2010. Copies of his firebrand speeches were found on the CDs inside the cars.

West Midlands Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale said: "They travelled to Dewsbury with IEDs (improvised explosive devices) that would have certainly caused significant injuries and probably some deaths.”

Mr Beale said they had reviewed the case and said there had been no individual or organisational failings by police or MI5. "Based on the information we had, we wouldn't have done anything differently," he said.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
New Articles
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering