Irfan Naseer, 31, Irfan Khalid, 27, and Ashik Ali, 27, all from Birmingham, were convicted at Woolwich Crown Court of planning the attack. They were “central figures” in an Islamic extremist plot to set off up to eight rucksack bombs and possibly other devices on timers in crowded areas. Police believe it was the most significant terror plot to be uncovered since the 2006 conspiracy to blow up transatlantic airliners using bombs disguised as soft drinks. Khalid even boasted that the attack was “another 9/11” as “revenge for everything”.
Naseer was found guilty of five counts of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts, Khalid four, and Ali three, all between Christmas Day 2010 and September 19 2011. For Naseer, from Sparkhill, Khalid, from Sparkbrook, and Ali, from Balsall Heath, this included planning a bombing campaign, collecting money for terrorism and recruiting others for terrorism. Naseer and Khalid also travelled to Pakistan for training, and Naseer helped others travel to the country for the same purpose.
Another report says that
In surveillance recordings, Naseer was heard talking about the possibility of mixing poison into creams such as Vaseline or Nivea and smearing them on car handles to cause mass deaths. The trio even pondered welding blades to a truck and driving it into people.
Good thing they were caught. Then again, it seems unlikely that these bunglers could have pulled off a major attack.
Surveillance operations helped uncover how the men worked as street fundraisers for Muslim Aid to raise money for their plot, which six other men have already pleaded guilty in relation to. But the plotters lost thousands through playing foreign currency markets and had to apply for loans. The competency of Naseer, an overweight unemployed pharmacy graduate nicknamed Chubbs; Khalid, whose father said he had a medical condition that would have prevented him from carrying out any attacks; and partially-sighted Ali as would-be suicide bombers was doubted, as they also failed to destroy a ‘recipe’ for homemade ingredients when a paper note did not burn.
They sound like they walked straight out of Four Lions, the very enjoyable 2010 British comedy about some extremely cloddish homegrown jihadists.
I’ll bet the judge isn’t laughing in this case, though. The trio faces life imprisonment.