Three jailed over 'holy war' campaign

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Three men who used the internet to urge Muslims to carry out their " religious duty" and wage holy war against non-believers were behind bars today.

Targeting a "vast and disparate" audience, they promoted martyrdom and jihad through a series of online forums and websites.

One of the posts, which referred to the July 7 London bombings in which 52 innocent people died, said: "From the moment the infidels cry, I laugh."

Ringleader Younes Tsouli, who ran an internet site which regularly featured beheadings, was imprisoned for 10 years.

Co-defendant Tariq Al-Daour who was also involved in a £1.8 million fraud, was jailed for six-and-a-half years.

The third man in the dock, Waseem Mughal, was given a seven-and-a-half-year sentence at Woolwich Crown Court for his role.

Earlier this week, all three pleaded guilty to inciting another person to commit an act of terrorism wholly or partly outside the United Kingdom which would, if committed in England and Wales, constitute murder.

Today's case is the first prosecution to be based entirely on the distribution of jihadi material on the internet.

Passing sentence, Mr Justice Openshaw described the men as engaging in "cyber jihad", encouraging others to kill non-believers.

"It would seem that internet websites have become an effective means of communicating such ideas," he added.

But the judge said none of them had come anywhere close to carrying out acts of violence themselves.

Referring to Tsouli, he said: "He came no closer to a bomb or a firearm than a computer keyboard."

The judge said Tsouli should be deported back to Morocco - his birthplace - after serving his sentence.

Mr Justice Openshaw said the Metropolitan Police had searched a "hugely gigantic" amount of material - computers, CDs and memory sticks - to bring these three men to justice.