Members of a British Muslim terrorist cell discussed taking their wives and children on suicide missions to blow up transatlantic jets, a jury heard yesterday. The ringleader, Abdulla Ahmed Ali, was bugged by police talking about whether to bring his baby son but said his wife "would not agree to it". Umar Islam, however, said his wife might join the plot if it were a "significant operation".
Assad Sarwar, and Abdulla Ahmed Ali 'wanted to cause Chernobyl-style disaster'
Six of the eight-strong gang each made "chilling" suicide videos expressing the desire to wreak "death and destruction" against the West and "Kuffar", or non-believers. They were intended to serve as taunts from beyond the grave if their horrifying plot had succeeded, it was claimed.
The men wore western suits and blank expressions in the dock of
Mr Wright said the men's video messages left "very little room for any degree of ambiguity" as to their intentions. While some, including Islam, seemed to be reading from prepared notes, others were "speaking from the heart".
The defendants are all accused of plotting to blow up at least seven planes flying from Heathrow to cities in the
The plotters allegedly bought a top-floor flat in a terrace house in Walthamstow,
The jury heard that police recorded a conversation between Islam and Ali at the bomb factory, where the two discussed taking their children on their suicide mission. Referring to a train bombing where a man wanted to take his child, Ali said: "That's why he wanted to take his kid on the train with him. Shake them up. "Should I take my lot on? I know my wife would not agree to it."
Mr Wright told the jury: "Such a sacrifice is beyond contemplation for those who are the targets but not those who participate in activities such as these." In a bugged conversation in July 2006, Ali said the attack was a "couple of weeks" away. He was married with a nine-month-old son at the time of his arrest in August 2006, the court heard.
Police found a piece of paper at his home on which he wrote a quotation.
It read: "If I was to be given the news that I will be meeting the most beautiful wife and the news of having a baby boy just born, it is more dear to my heart that I will be waiting in a tent in the cold dark chilly weather waiting for dawn so that I may attack the enemy." Islam told Ali that his wife found his own "martyrdom" script in his house after it fell out his pocket. "I was hoping she didn't read it and then she goes, 'I read that thing'. She goes, 'Is that what I think it is?' "And I goes, 'Don't ask no questions', and then she just left it."
One tape containing some of the suicide messages was found along with a camcorder in the boot of Sarwar's car when he was arrested with Ali on the night of August 9, 2006 in a car park in Walthamstow. The other tape was found hidden in his garage at his home 30 miles away in
The court heard that Sarwar spent the months before his arrest "stockpiling" the necessary ingredients to make the bombs.
In the days before their arrests, the bombers applied for new passports – falsely claiming theirs had been lost – so they could discard their old ones containing stamps for travel to Pakistan and so "appear Western and look less conspicuous" to airport security staff. The prosecution said the bombers planned to take a pornographic magazine and condoms in their hand luggage. Mr Wright said: "We say that that amounts to, in military terms, what one may describe as fieldcraft. "Within one's hand luggage, items that would lead the security guard either to be distracted or to conclude that the owner of it was unlikely to be a radicalised Islamist who was engaged in a violent and deadly agenda. "Similarly, the presence of condoms in the hand luggage, we say, is designed to suggest that the traveller has in mind a journey, and the subsequent pursuit of mutual pleasure, rather than to be the harbinger of death." He said the bombers planned to take a drink similar to the bomb so if staff became suspicious, they could drink the real one and diffuse concerns. But the drink should be a different flavour, so the bombers did not become confused and drink the bomb liquid.
The accused are Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 27, Waheed Zaman, 23, and Arafat Waheed Khan, 26, all from Walthamstow, East London; Ibrahim Savant, 27, from Stoke Newington, North London, Mohammed Gulzar, 26, from Barking, East London, Assad Sarwar, 27, from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, Tanvir Hussain, 27, from Leyton, East London and Umar Islam, 29, from Plaistow, East London.
All deny conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to commit an act of violence likely to endanger the safety of an aircraft.
The trial continues.
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