Six UK Muslims on trial for botched bombings one "faced woman with child wearing NY shirt" before attempting to detonate
January 15, 2007
Militants plotted 2nd wave of U.K. bombs - prosecutor
By Michael Holden
LONDON (Reuters) - An Islamist cell tried to carry out suicide bombings on London's transport system just two weeks after attacks that killed 52 people and wounded about 700, a prosecutor said on Monday.
The "extremist Muslim plot" was not a hastily arranged copycat scheme but a long-planned operation, chief prosecutor Nigel Sweeney said as six British men went on trial over the failed attacks of July 21, 2005.
He said the attackers aimed to cause maximum injury by detonating home-made bombs packed with metal, which they carried in rucksacks onto the public transport system.
Their selection of targets -- three underground trains and a bus -- echoed those in the deadly attacks by four young British Muslims who blew themselves up in London just two weeks earlier, on July 7, 2005.
The failed second set of attacks caused panic and triggered a huge manhunt, leaving Londoners unclear at the time if they were a botched and quickly assembled attempt to imitate the original carnage.
But Sweeney told the high-security Woolwich Crown Court: "The evidence in this case shows that this conspiracy had been in existence long before the events of July 7."
The six men, all originally from Africa and in their 20s, are charged with planning to set off explosives on three underground trains and a bus in London on July 21.
Sweeney said the 9th-floor flat of defendant Yassin Hassin Omar in north London was the bomb-making factory. The detonator was triacetone triperoxide (TATP) and the main charge was held in buckets surrounded by screws, tacks, washers and nuts.
"The purpose is, of course, to increase fragmentation when the bomb explodes and maximise the possibility of injury, fatal or otherwise, to those in the vicinity," Sweeney told the court.
FAILED TO EXPLODE
Sweeney said the 5 kg bombs were made of hydrogen peroxide, nail varnish and flour used to make chapatis, or unleavened bread. They were carried in rucksacks with wires connected to the detonators hidden under clothing.
He said four of the defendants successfully fired their TATP detonators but the main charge failed to explode, possibly because the proportion of hydrogen peroxide was not quite right.
TATP is an explosive chemical which can be made from commonly available household products. Nicknamed "Mother of Satan", it is highly volatile and liable to explode prematurely if subjected to friction, impact or change of temperature.
The suspected July 21 plot sparked one of Britain's biggest manhunts and all the main suspects on trial were apprehended just over a week after the failed attacks.
Muktah Said Ibrahim, Manfo Kwaku Asiedu, Hussein Osman, Yassin Hassin Omar, Ramzi Mohammed and Adel Yahya are all charged with conspiracy to murder.
The prosecutor said Osman had told police after being arrested in Italy that the bombings were a deliberate hoax to make a political point. Sweeney rejected the "hoax" defence.
Sweeney said Mohammed was seen trying to set off his bomb facing a woman with a pushchair and was wearing a top with New York on it, "no doubt connected with the events of 9/11".
He said home-made films featuring images of beheadings and other attacks, including those on Sept. 11 in New York, were found in the defendants' flats.
They are also accused of "conspiracy to cause explosions likely to endanger life or cause serious injury to property".
Asiedu also faces the charge of "possessing an explosive substance with intent" in connection with a device police said had been abandoned in a park a few days later.
U.K. Prosecutors Outline Bomb Plot
AP Photo LKW102
By JILL LAWLESS
Associated Press Writer
LONDON (AP) - Six men plotted to kill London transport passengers with bombs made from hydrogen peroxide and flour just two weeks after suicide attackers killed 52 commuters, a British prosecutor told a jury Monday.
No one was killed in the attempted bombings on July 21, 2005, because the devices failed to explode. Forensic scientists had tested the mixture, however, and "in every experiment this mixture has exploded," prosecutor Nigel Sweeney said.
"This case is concerned with an extremist Muslim plot, the ultimate objective of which was to carry out a number of murders and suicide bombings," Sweeney told jurors.
Ibrahim Muktar Said, 28, Ramzi Mohamed, 25, Yassin Omar, 26, Manfu Asiedu, 33, Adel Yahya, 24, and Hussain Osman, 28 - all from London - deny charges of conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to cause explosions.
The apparent bid to bomb three London Underground trains and a bus shook a city reeling from the July 7 explosions that killed 52 passengers and four bombers - the deadliest attack on London since World War II and the first suicide bombings in Western Europe.
On July 21, devices were triggered, again on three subway trains and a double-decker bus. They failed to detonate fully, and no one was injured.
Most of the suspects were arrested in Britain a few days after the failed bombings. Osman fled to Italy, and was detained in Rome a week after the attacks.
Eleven other people - including Osman's wife and sister-in-law - have been charged with assisting the accused or failing to disclose information. Their trials are due to take place later this year.
The case is being heard by judge Adrian Fulford at Woolwich Crown Court, a heavily fortified courthouse next to London's high-security Belmarsh Prison. It is expected to last between three and four months.
During jury selection last week, the judge told prospective jurors the trial "comes after all the shock, confusion and press reporting" of attacks in July 2005, "most particularly the death and the injuries of those who were involved in the incidents on July 7."
He said they would be asked to decide whether the defendants intended to kill or injure others.
"It is not about whether killing or causing serious injury to people is justified on the basis of any ideology or belief," he said.