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UK terror plotters pronounced guilty by London court

Khyam boasted of working for al-Qaida, links with leader of 2005 bomb attacks on capital

UK terror plotters  pronounced guilty by London court

A jury found five men guilty yesterday of plotting deadly attacks on British targets, including one who claimed to work for al-Qaida's number three and had links to the 2005 London suicide bombers.
The men were among seven alleged to have conspired to cause explosions at a central London nightclub and shopping center, as well as hit gas and electricity supplies using bombs made from fertilizer.
One also discussed trying to buy a radioactive "dirty bomb" from the Russian mafia but nothing appeared to have come from his enquiries, the year-long trial at London's Central Criminal Court was told.
Omar Khyam, who boasted of working for al-Qaida's number three, Abdul Hadi, also had links to the presumed ringleader of the July 7, 2005 suicide attacks on London, Mohamed Sidique Khan.
This information was kept from jurors during the trial, for fear of prejudicing their deliberations.
Khyam, 25, and Khan met each other on terrorist training camps in Pakistan and at least four times in England, while the former was under surveillance by Britain's domestic intelligence service, MI5, in the final stages of plotting.
He also met another of the bombers, Shehzad Tanweer. But MI5 assessed that Khan and Tanweer were "peripheral" figures.
They and two other bombers went on to kill themselves and 52 others, as well as injure more than 700.
An American called Mohammed Junaid Babar, with whom the fertilizer bomb plotters are said to have conspired, turned "supergrass" after admitting his role to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.
He told them of his concerns about Khan and said he should be investigated, but was said to have been angry when it emerged that he had not been.
The British government has previously said there was no warning before the attacks. Revelations of a link with Khyam immediately prompted calls for an inquiry from opposition parties and relatives of those who died.
"The consequences of that level of incompetence were such that my son was killed. That is truly appalling," said Graham Foulkes, who lost his 22-year-old son, David.
But the chairman of the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee, Labor lawmaker Paul Murphy, said they remained satisfied there were "no culpable failures" by the security services in relation to intelligence.
In its official report into the July 7 bombings, Murphy's committee last year said the failure to identify Khan was a "missed opportunity."
Home Secretary John Reid said the fight against terrorism was a "endless, continuous task," but added: "Very dangerous terrorists are now behind bars due to the efforts of our security services and our police."
The seven accused of the fertilizer bomb plot were arrested on March 30, 2004 after more than half a ton of the chemical was found in a storage facility in west London.
Khyam, Anthony Garcia, 25, Jawad Akbar, 23, Waheed Mahmood, 35, and 32-year-old Salahuddin Amin were all convicted conspiracy to cause explosions likely to endanger life.
Two of their co-defendants - Shujah Mahmood, 20, and 22-year-old Nabeel Hussain - were cleared of the same charge.
All the men had pleaded not guilty, denying there was a conspiracy.


Updated : 2021-04-19 02:16 GMT+08:00