British Muslims 'planned to kill thousands by bombing SEVEN transatlantic airliners in one go'






Daily Mail  

A gang of British Muslims planned to blow up seven planes within hours in the biggest terrorist atrocity since 9/11, a court heard yesterday. Two thousand passengers would have died in the plot by eight fanatics working "in the name of Islam", the jury was told. 

It could have involved up to 18 suicide bombers. And they were almost ready to strike.

The jets they targeted would all have been bound from Heathrow to cities in the U.S. and Canada, it was claimed.

Once the first had exploded the authorities would have had to watch, powerless, as the six others were downed.

Plastic soft-drink bottles were to be the murder weapon - filled with explosive and connected to a detonator.

The alleged plot led to a ban on liquid containers bigger than 100ml which is still in force at UK airports.

Had it been successful, the death toll would have far eclipsed the 52 killed on July 7, 2005, when four suicide bombers detonated their rucksacks on the London transport system.

And if the conspirators chose to blow themselves up over land, the number of casualties in the air and on the ground could have exceeded the Twin Towers attacks in which nearly 3,000 died.

Accused: Ibrahim Savant:, 27, and Assad Sarwar, 27

Yesterday eight men went on trial at Woolwich Crown Court in South-East London accused of conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to commit an act of violence likely to endanger the safety of an aircraft.


Peter Wright QC, prosecuting, said: "What these men intended was a violent and deadly statement of intent which would have a truly global impact.

"These men were actively engaged in a deadly plan designed to bring about what would have been, had they been successful, a civilian death toll from an act of terrorism on an almost unprecedented scale.

"If each of these aircraft was successfully blown up the potential for loss of life was indeed considerable.

"And there would be little if any chance of saving any of them from their impending disaster.

"For when the mid-flight explosions began the authorities would be unable to prevent the other flights from meeting a similar fate as they would already be in mid air and carrying their deadly cargo."

He described the defendants as having the "cold-eyed certainty of the fanatic".

Accused: Umar Islam, 29, and Mohammed Gulzar, 26

Accused: Umar Islam, 29, and Mohammed Gulzar, 26

The alleged plot was foiled on August 9, 2006 when two of the key gang members - Abdulla Ahmed Ali and Assad Sarwar - were arrested by police in a town hall car park in Walthamstow, East London following several months of surveillance.

A series of arrests followed including that of Mohammed Gulzar, 26, the alleged third key member of the plot, and led to chaos, cancellation and delays at airports across the UK as a huge security crackdown swung into operation.

The court heard that at the time of the arrests, the bombers were "almost ready to put their plot into practice".

Police found a USB computer memory stick in Ali's pocket which held information on flight timetables and security advice on restricted items for hand luggage and other information about Heathrow Airport.

All the flight details saved on the stick were for outbound flights only and not return trips.


It listed United Airlines, Air Canada and American Airlines flights to Toronto, Montreal, San Francisco, Washington and New York, all leaving from Terminal 3 at Heathrow.

The planes targeted were 777, 767 and 763 jets which could carry between 241 and 285 passengers. All the scheduled flights left Heathrow within little more than two and a half hours of each other between 2.15pm and 4.50pm.

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 Liquid bomb plot tail fins

Terror: Prosecutors said the alleged plot would have targeted seven flights operated by (left to right) American Airlines, United Airlines and Air Canada


The plotters' main interest was with flights leaving between August and October 2006.

Ali, 27, married with a young son, also had a pocket notebook in which a "blueprint" for making the bombs and carrying out the plot was written.

Plastic Oasis and Lucozade bottles were to be used by the plotters to make their liquid bombs.

A hypodermic syringe would be inserted into the base to draw out the drink and the bomb mixture would be injected in its place.

A homemade detonator called hexamethylene triperoxide and also known as HMTD would be made from a mixture of household and commercial ingredients and disguised in AA batteries.


Bulbs and wires would connect the bomb mixture with disposable cameras to trigger a charge to set it off.

Of Ali and Sarwar, Mr Wright said: "They shared a common interest.

"It was an interest in which they were actively engaged at the time of their arrest, an interest that involved inflicting heavy casualties upon an unwitting civilian population, all in the name of Islam.

"The means by which they intended to inflict heavy casualties upon ordinary civilians was by the carrying out of a series of coordinated and deadly explosions.

"These men were, we say, indifferent to the carnage that was likely to ensue if their plans were successful.

"To them, the identities of their victims was a complete irrelevance. It is the prosecution case that they intended to cause a series of explosions on board a selected number of transatlantic passenger aircraft.

"The devices were to be smuggled on to the aircraft and detonated in flight by a suicide bomber, a bomber prepared to lose his or her life in this way.


"Inevitably, such an event would also have fatal consequences for the various passengers and crew who happened, quite by chance, to be flying to North America on the day selected by them to commit this atrocity."

Mr Wright said the conspirators plotted to detonate seven bombs on planes leaving from Terminal 3 at Heathrow but that the "extent of their ambitions" went wider.


In court: A gang of British Muslims are alleged to have planned to blow up jets leaving from Heathrow to destinations in the U.S. and Canada

"A coordinated strike upon the aircraft engaged in these seven flights by the onboard detonation of improvised explosive devices was capable, we say, of producing quite catastrophic consequences for passengers, crew and, indeed, anyone who happened to be in the path of a stricken or disintegrating aircraft, if it plummeted to earth over a populated part of northern Europe or North America.

"Terrifying, we say, though this concept alone may be it is the prosecution case that the conspirators did not confine themselves and did not confine their ambitions merely to the coordinated destruction in mid-flight of these seven aircraft.

"In conversation between two of the main participants, reference was made to 'different terminals', and as many as 18 suicide bombers being involved."

The accused are Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 27, Waheed Zaman, 23, Arafat Waheed Khan, 26, all from Walthamstow, East London, Ibrahim Savant, 27, from Stoke Newington, North London, Mohammed Gulzar, 26, from Barking, East London, Assad Sarwar, 27, from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, Tanvir Hussain, 27, from Leyton, East London and Umar Islam, 29, from Plaistow, East London.

All deny the charges. The case continues.



'Condoms and porn' in luggage

A bomb plot "blueprint" scrawled in a diary was seized by police from one of the alleged masterminds, the jury heard.

It set out in chilling detail how mid-air carnage was to be achieved using everyday objects.

And it revealed that the fanatics hoped to hoodwink airport security officers by putting pornographic magazines and condoms in their hand luggage to indicate that they could not be Muslim zealots, the court was told.

Anti-terror police were said to have found the recipe for mass murder in an address book diary belonging to Abdulla Ahmed Ali, one of the alleged ringleaders of the plot.

It revealed plans for the gang to hold a summit five days before their deadly mission, the court heard.

Scribbles seemed to suggest that the gang would each take two bottles of their liquid bombs through security in case one was taken off them.

Ali wrote: "One drink use, other keep in pocket, maybe will not get through."

There were also rambling references to bomb ingredients and how to mix them.

Jury members were shown pages from the diary in which Ali apparently wrote about disguising hydrogen peroxide ('HP') with food dye to make it look like Lucozade.

He wrote: "Lucozade red 1.5 drops", and "Check time taken to dilute in HP".

In an apparent reference to a detonator, Ali allegedly wrote in his diary: "Decide on which battery to use for D, small is best", and "Keys and chewing gum on the D in the electronic device."

Elsewhere, seemingly planning a final meeting with his co-conspirators, he wrote: "Select date, five days B4. All link up."

The diary apparently tells how security staff would be fooled by "dirty mags" and condoms in the gang's hand luggage, the court heard.

A scrawl in Ali's diary said simply: "Prepare dirty mag to distract, condom."

Prosecutor Peter Wright QC said Ali "chose to lie" and said he could not remember when police asked him about the significance of these diary entries.

The prosecutor dubbed the entries a "blueprint" of clear significance to the plot and contained details of how it was to be carried out.

They included lists of various items which could be carried on aircraft without arousing too much attention.

From soft drinks to deadly explosives


Bombs would have been made from everyday items like soft drink bottles and batteries. 

The bottles and disposable camera batteries, the jury heard.

Liquid explosives disguised with food colouring and mouthwash would be smuggled past security and on to the flights.

There they would be hooked up to homemade detonators powered by tiny camera batteries and set off to cause mid-air carnage, the court heard.

After the alleged plot was uncovered, in August 2006, the authorities banned passengers from carrying most liquids on board aircraft.

The main ingredient of the homemade bombs was said to be hydrogen peroxide, commonly used as hair bleach and easily available on the high street, mixed with other chemicals which the Daily Mail is not naming.

The plan was to drill small holes in the bottom of 500ml plastic bottles of Oasis and Lucozade and pour away the drinks, the jury heard.

Then the conspirators would use a syringe to inject the ready-mixed explosive liquid into the bottles. Prosecutor Peter Wright QC said the hole would be closed with glue to give the appearance of a "factory sealed" bottle.

Once on board the aircraft, the improvised bombs would be hooked up to a detonator disguised as a standard AA 1.5-volt battery, containing a substance known as HMTD - produced from a mixture of household and commercial ingredients which are freely available.

The detonator would be ignited using metal wire, a small bulb or the flash from a disposal camera, said Mr Wright.

He said improvised bombs using similar ingredients had been used in other terrorist attacks.

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