Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Another Kooky British Plot

BIRMINGHAM, England (CNN) — A major anti-terrorism raid in the UK was intended to foil a plot to kidnap a Muslim soldier serving in the British Army, and behead him, according to a security source.

Police arrested eight people during a series of early-morning raids in Birmingham, central England, early Wednesday, according to statements released by police and the Home Office.

The Home Office said the eight were arrested in Birmingham by West Midlands police under the country's anti-terrorism laws.

The arrests did not involve a plot to cause mass casualties, but instead the kidnap of a British Muslim soldier who has served in Afghanistan, a senior security source told CNN.

Once kidnapped, the attackers allegedly planned to videotape the torture and execution of the soldier for later publication on the Internet.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Police came across July 21 'bomber' three times, court hears

Scotland Yard anti-terror detectives crossed paths with one of the alleged July 21 suicide bombers three times in the months leading up to his failed attack on a London bus but never detained him for longer than a few hours, a court heard today.

Muktar Said Ibrahim was photographed by Metropolitan Police surveillance officers at a camping trip in the Lake District along with four of his alleged co-conspirators in May 2004, almost 15 months before their attempted suicide attacks, Woolwich Crown Court was told.

Photographs and footage of the five men at the alleged training camp were shown to the jury and later released by the police.

A few months later, in October that year, Mr Ibrahim was arrested outside Debenhams on London's busy Oxford Street for distributing inflammatory Islamic literature.

Then in December 2004, he was questioned by Special Branch officers at London's Heathrow Airport on his way to Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, the court heard.

Revelations that Mr Ibrahim, 28, was under surveillance for months leading up to the alleged suicide attacks in London on July 21, 2005 in London were made on the third day in a trial of six men on charges of conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to cause explosions likely to endanger life at Woolwich Crown Court.

The failed attacks took place exactly two weeks after the 7/7 attacks, in which four suicide bombers killed 52 London commuters. In the event, all of the homemade bombs the conspirators used, made of a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and chapatti flour, failed to go off and the would-be suicide terrorists attempted to flee.

Three of the alleged bombers on July 21 tried to blow themselves up on the tube and one on a bus, the court heard. The fifth man failed to go through with the plan and dumped his explosives in west London, while a sixth had already left the country.

'London bomb plot was just a hoax'

One of the defendants in the London "bomb plot" trial, Hussein Osman, was arrested in Rome and interviewed at length by police.

He is said to have told officers after his arrest he and his co-accused had been making a political point and the devices they carried were never meant to explode.

Nigel Sweeney QC, prosecuting, told Woolwich Crown Court, Mr Osman had admitted to police that his real name was Hamdi Isaac and he was born in Ethiopia in 1978.

Mr Osman was said to have told police he had moved to Italy in the early 1990s and to the UK in the late 1990s where he adopted the identity Hussein Osman.

He also said he had pretended he was Somali because he thought it would make it easier to claim asylum.

He said he met Muktar Ibrahim, Yassin Omar and Ramzi Mohammed at a mosque and had known them for two years, the court was told.

They played football together and went on camping expeditions to Scotland and Kent and had been to Speaker's Corner in London's Hyde Park to talk about religion, Mr Osman is said to have told police.

Explosives 'not real'

Mr Sweeney said Mr Osman told police they first decided to carry out a "demonstration" about a week after the 7 July attacks on London.