Three men admit terror bomb plot

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The Independent Online

Three men accused of plotting a series of suicide attacks on transatlantic jets pleaded guilty today to conspiring to cause explosions.





Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 27, Assad Sarwar, 28, and Tanvir Hussain, 27, admitted the offence at Woolwich Crown Court, in south east London.



The men also admitted conspiring to cause public nuisance by distributing videos threatening suicide bomb attacks in Britain.



Two of their co-defendants, Ibrahim Savant, 27, and Umar Islam, 30, also admitted conspiring to cause a public nuisance.



A jury must still decide if the five men, and three others, are guilty of conspiring to murder thousands in a wave of mid-air terrorist explosions using home-made liquid bombs.



The charges the men face have been amended. All eight men deny two charges of conspiracy to murder between 1 January and 11 August 2006.



One of the charges specifies that the attacks would involve the detonation of improvised bombs on passenger aircraft.



Prosecutors claim the eight men plotted to blow up passenger jets flying from Heathrow to major cities in North America.



They planned to use powerful hydrogen peroxide liquid bombs disguised as soft drinks to bypass airport security, jurors were told.



The devices would be assembled by injecting the chemicals into plastic soft drinks bottles and detonated using a battery from a camera flash, it was claimed.



They were being assembled at a bomb factory flat bought by the gang for cash in Forest Road, Walthamstow, north east London, the court heard.



The same flat was used by six members of the gang to record martyrdom videos in which they ranted hatred against the West and non-Muslims, jurors were told.



Peter Wright QC, prosecuting, said the gang were "not long off" executing their plan when counter terrorist police swooped in August 2006.



He said Ali, the alleged ringleader of the plot, was caught with a blueprint for the operation recorded in a pocket diary and on a computer memory stick.



Stashes of hydrogen peroxide and other bomb-making equipment were found hidden at Sarwar's home and in woodland nearby, the court heard.



In their defence, Ali and Sarwar said they planned to record a documentary highlighting injustices against Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon.



A small explosion at the Houses of Parliament in which no one would be hurt would act as a publicity stunt to draw attention to the programme.



The two men also considered other targets including gas terminals, oil refineries and airports, Sarwar said.



Ali and the five other men who recorded videos said they were acting the role of violent hate-filled extremists and the footage would be woven into the video.



Hussain admitted he agreed to appear in an al-Qa'ida-style militant video, but said he was shocked when he learned of the publicity bomb plot.



The public nuisance charge stated the offence would be by "the publication or distribution of video recordings threatening the murder of persons by means of suicide operations, such threats being designed to influence the Government and intimidate the public".



The defendants are Ali, of Prospect Hill, Walthamstow, east London; Sarwar, 28, of Walton Drive, High Wycombe, Bucks; Hussain, 27, of Nottingham Road, Leyton, east London; Mohammed Gulzar, 26, of Priory Road, Barking, east London; Savant, 27, of Denver Road, Stoke Newington, north London, Arafat Waheed Khan, 27, of Farnan Avenue, Walthamstow; Waheed Zaman, 24, of Queen's Road, Walthamstow; and Islam, aka Brian Young, 30, of Bushey Road, Plaistow, east London.



The jury is expected to retire next week.