Airline bomb plot ringleader gets 40 years in UK

A British judge on Monday sentenced the ringleader of a plot to bring down trans-Atlantic planes with liquid explosives to at least 40 years in jail and three fellow British Muslims to long prison sentences. The sentences for the planned suicide bombings were among the longest ever handed out by a British court in a terrorism case.

Ringleader Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 28, was given a minimum sentence of 40 years for plotting the biggest terrorist attack since Sept. 11, 2001. Assad Sarwar, 29, was ordered to serve at least 36 years in prison and Tanvir Hussain, 28, was sentenced at least 32 years. A fourth man, Umar Islam, 31, was found guilty of conspiracy to murder and received a minimum of 22 years. Jurors were unable to decide in his case whether he intended to target aircraft in the plot.

The men had planned to smuggle explosives aboard the planes disguised as soft drinks and detonate them while flying. Prosecutors said they were likely just days away from mounting their suicide attacks when they were arrested in August 2006.

Airline bomb plot ‘dedicated to Bin Laden’

One of the eight men accused of a plot to blow up transatlantic flights dedicated his actions to Osama bin Laden and the Taliban leader Mullah Omar, a court heard today. The 19-minute “martyrdom” video of Umar Islam, 29, was played to the jury at Woolwich crown court. Wearing a black and white checked headscarf, and sitting in front of a black flag covered in Arabic writing, Islam said Allah “loves us to die and kill in his path”. “To Mullah Omar and Sheikh Osama and the brothers, keep on going, keep on remaining firm, but truly you have inspired many of the Muslims and you have inspired me personally to follow the true path of the prophet,” he said. Six of the eight defendants on trial recorded videos outlining their hatred of the west and threatening further attacks, prosecutors said. The videos were found in the car and garage of another defendant, Assad Sarwar. During his speech, Islam pointed his finger at the camera and repeatedly checked notes on his lap. Haroon Siddique reports.