Aircraft attacks were imminent, UK court hears

A suicide plot to blow up as many as 18 bombs on transAtlantic aircraft simultaneously was “almost ready to be put into practice” by Muslim fanatics in Britain intent on causing carnage, a court has heard. British officials said the alleged plotters had not been about to strike when they were taken into custody. But on Thursday, Peter Wright, QC, prosecuting, told Woolwich Crown Court the men had been “almost ready” to launch their plan. “The disaster they contemplated was not long off,” he said. The eight alleged terrorists had drawn up plans of which flights they intended to target, and had bought everything they needed to make liquid-based bombs capable of bringing down passenger jets, the court heard. The alleged plot was smashed when police arrested the men after months of surveillance. One of them, Abdul Ahmed Ali, was carrying a USB memory stick alleged to have contained a “blueprint” of the plans. It was said to have included details of daily United Airlines, American Airlines and Air Canada flights from Heathrow, and research on what could be taken on board aircraft in hand luggage. Significantly, say the prosecution, the men “only seemed to be interested in one-way flights”. Gordon Rayner and Duncan Gardham report.