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Trio convicted of liquid bomb plot jailed for life

Three men were jailed for life yesterday after being convicted of conspiring to murder hundreds of people by blowing up transatlantic airliners.

Ibrahim Savant, Arafat Waheed Khan and Waheed Zaman, from east London, were told they would serve minimum terms of 20 years. They were recruited by the ringleader of a plot inspired by al-Qa'ida to detonate liquid bombs on board the aircraft.

Mr Justice Holroyde told Woolwich Crown Court that the men intended to kill "an uncertain but potentially large number of innocent men, women and children". The mastermind, Abdulla Ahmed Ali, had developed a home-made hydrogen peroxide bomb which could be disguised as a soft drink to be carried through security and assembled afterwards. Along with another man, he was found guilty of his role in the airline plot last year.

Ali recruited friends and associates to act as suicide bombers, who recorded martyrdom videos at a flat in Walthamstow, east London, and singled out seven flights as targets.

Mr Justice Holroyde said the men sentenced yesterday were "foot soldiers" and did not know their intended targets and played no part in its planning or in assembling the explosives. They were cleared by a jury of their role in targeting aircraft but found guilty at a retrial of plotting mass murder.

The verdicts bring to an end a series of trials following a 2006 operation to smash the largest terrorist plot ever discovered in Britain.