Wednesday, August 23, 2006

British police find martyrdom videos and bomb parts

Duncan Gardham:

Umar Islam, formerly Brian Young

Eleven people were charged yesterday in connection with an alleged plot to blow up transatlantic airliners as police revealed that they had found suspected bomb-making equipment and martyrdom videos.

Eight are accused of conspiracy to murder by planning to smuggle the components of bombs on to aircraft, assemble them and detonate them.

Anti-terrorism officers said that since the arrests on Aug 10 they had found potential bomb-making equipment, including hydrogen peroxide and electrical components.

They have also recovered martyrdom videos of the kind left behind by the July 7 bombers Mohammed Siddique Khan and Shezhad Tanweer. Police sources said that airline tickets had also been found.

Peter Clarke, the deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and head of the anti-terrorism squad, told a news conference that the charges were based on significant video and audio surveillance.

Giving an insight into Operation Overt, he said: "The scale is immense. Inquiries will span the globe. The enormity of the alleged plot will be matched only by our determination to follow every line of inquiry."

Among those charged are a 17-year-old youth who cannot be named for legal reasons and a woman with a young child. The youth is accused of possessing a book on improvised explosive devices and the names of people prepared to commit acts of terrorism.

Cossar Ali, 23, from Walthamstow, east London, who has an eight-month-old son, is accused of failing to disclose information which she believed would be useful in preventing an act of terrorism. Her husband, Ahmed Abdullah Ali, also known as Abdullah Ali Ahmed Khan, was charged as part of the main plot.

Mr Clarke sought to reassure the public that police would continue to work with MI5 to defeat terrorism.

"We are doing everything we can to keep you safe, for you to live your lives without being in constant fear," he said. "However, we must be realistic: the threat from terrorism is real, it is here, it is deadly and it is enduring. "These are difficult times for all communities but I can assure you that the police service will not flinch from its duty to protect the public."

Officers have searched 69 houses, flats, business premises and vehicles, as well as open land including woodland at High Wycombe, Bucks, where it is thought the suspected bomb-making equipment was found.

They have removed more than 400 computers, 200 mobile telephones and 8,000 items for digital storage, such as memory sticks, CDs and DVDs. Ahead lie months of specialist analysis of the material. Police have been working closely with the Crown Prosecution Service.

Susan Hemming, the head of the CPS counter-terrorism division, said: "We have been carefully examining and assessing the evidence against each individual with the assistance of anti-terrorist officers."

Those allegedly involved in the plot include Brian Young, 28, a Muslim convert from High Wycombe who changed his name to Umar Islam, and Assad Ali Sarwar, 26, also from High Wycombe.

Waheed Zaman, 22, a bio-medical student from Walthamstow, who ran an Islamic society at the Metropolitan University and worked at Hamley's toy shop, was also charged.

Another convert, Ibrahim Savant, 25, who is also known as Oliver and is the son of an Iranian-born architect from Walthamstow, was charged with involvement in the plot. His wife, who is six months pregnant, was released without charge.

Others accused of conspiracy to murder are Tanvir Hussain, 25, from Leyton, east London, and Arafat Waheed Khan, 25, and Adam Khatib, 19, both from Walthamstow.

Mehran Hussain is accused of failing to disclose information on another man who is in custody.

A further 11 men remain in custody and last night police were granted a warrant of further detention for one of the suspects, allowing officers to detain him until tomorrow.

A decision will have to be made on whether to charge the others or apply for extra time to question them.

All 11 accused are due to appear at Horseferry Road magistrates court, in London, today.

Islam Made Suspect Calmer and More Polite, Friends Say

'Plane bomb plot' accused in court

Converts and young mother among accused

Profiling the Suspects: Converts to Islam

Shock Reverberates Among Acquaintances of the Young Suspects


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