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.

Alleged would-be suicide bombers made ‘martyrdom videos’

Six Islamic fanatics recorded violent martyrdom videos as they prepared a terrorist attack on transatlantic aircraft, a court heard today. The gang’s leader told Western leaders to “stop meddling in our affairs” or body parts will be left “decorating the streets”, a jury heard. Another alleged bomber’s video message appeared to address the British public, accusing them of being too busy watching EastEnders and Home And Away to “care about anything”. Prosecutors said defendant Abdulla Ahmed Ali was willing to carry a home-made liquid bomb aboard a flight to north America and detonate it himself. Ali is one of eight men on trial accused of conspiring to murder and to endanger aircraft at Woolwich Crown Court in south-east London. They deny the charges. Prosecutor Peter Wright QC said the gang considered other targets in addition to at least seven flights leaving from London Heathrow airport within hours of each other. He said there was evidence Canary Wharf, a gas pipeline between Belgium and the UK, chemical companies, oil refineries and other UK airports were possible targets. The jury also heard how the gang stockpiled materials for their home-made liquid devices which were to be smuggled on to aircraft disguised as 500ml soft drinks.