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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Thwarted airline bombers 'planned to sacrifice wives and children'

Thwarted airline bombers 'planned to sacrifice wives and children'

April 4, 2008

Terror suspects 'planned to sacrifice wives and children'

By Gordon Rayner, Chief Reporter, and Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent
Last Updated: 10:27pm BST 04/04/2008

Gang's possible other targets identified in court

A gang of Muslim fanatics discussed "sacrificing" their wives and babies by taking them on an alleged suicide bombing mission to blow up transatlantic jets, a court has heard.

  • Alleged bomb plotters justify slaughter in videos
  • Empty flat was 'turned into bomb factory'
  • In pictures: Airline bomb plot

    The alleged "martyrdom" plot, which was just "a couple of weeks" from fruition, also included plans to attack nuclear power stations, oil refineries and the skyscrapers of London's Canary Wharf, it is alleged.

    Terror plot defendants: Top, from left: Tanvir Hussain, Assad Sarwar, Umar Islam and Waheed Zaman. Bottom: Mohammed Gulzar, Arafat Waheed Khan, Ibrahim Savant, and Abdulla Ahmed Ali
    Accused: Top, from left: Tanvir Hussain, Assad Sarwar, Umar Islam and Waheed Zaman
    Bottom: Mohammed Gulzar, Arafat Waheed Khan, Ibrahim Savant, and Abdulla Ahmed Ali

    Excerpts from six "chilling" alleged suicide videos were played to a jury, in which the defendants said they would "scatter body parts" over the streets in revenge for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Wearing headscarves and posing in front of black flags with white Arabic writing, the defendants were filmed saying they would unleash "volcanoes of anger and revenge" and "rain terror and destruction" down on "non-believers".

    They said the deaths of "so-called innocents" were justified because British taxpayers, who funded the Army, did not care about the fate of Muslims, as they were more interested in drinking, watching EastEnders and "complaining about the World Cup".

    The court has already been told that up to 18 suicide bombers were allegedly to be used to simultaneously bring down seven or more flights bound for the US and Canada from Heathrow Airport.

    Watch: trail begins for airline terror plotters
    Watch: Trial begins for eight men who deny
    planning to blow up transatlantic flights

    If successful, the alleged bombings would have killed hundreds and possibly thousands of people in what would have been the worst terrorist atrocity since the September 11, 2001 attacks on America.

    The defendants are Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 27, Ibrahim Savant, 27, Arafat Waheed Khan, 26, and Waheed Zaman, 23, all from Walthamstow, east London; Tanvir Hussain, 27, of Leyton, east London, Mohammed Gulzar, 26, of Barking; and Assad Sarwar, 27, and Umar Islam, 29, both of High Wycombe, Bucks.

    All eight deny conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to commit an act of violence likely to endanger an aircraft, between January 1 and August 11, 2006.

    Before their arrests in August 2006, the alleged conspirators were covertly recorded discussing their plans, the prosecutor, Peter Wright QC, told Woolwich Crown Court.

  • When one of the men, Abdulla Ali, was asked "how long 'til the event?" he replied: "A couple of weeks."

    Another, Umar Islam, added: "This is really going to happen, isn't it?", the court heard.

    The discussion is then said to have turned to whether the men should take their wives and children on the alleged suicide missions.

    Umar Islam was asked whether his wife might consider going with him on the "operation".

    He allegedly said: "I think if I was to say to her that this was a significant operation she might even find it in herself to do that."

    Ali asks: "What about the babies?... Maybe she taken them with her?"

    Islam replies: "Maybe, you know what I mean. She'd like to do it though."

    'Airline terror plotters wanted heavy casualties'
    Artist's impression of (left to right) Arafat Waheed Khan, Umar Islam and Ahmed Abdullah Ali, three of the men allegedly involved in a plot to blow up airliners

    Mr Wright said: "Such a sacrifice is beyond contemplation for those who are the target of an attack such as this but not those who are about to carry them out."

    As the full scope of the alleged terror plot was revealed for the first time, the jury heard that information had been gathered on the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown, the world's worst nuclear disaster.

    The plotters may also have intended to bring down the internet by hitting Britain's main web server, according to information seized at the home of Assad Sarwar.

    Mr Wright said: "The horizons of Mr Sarwar in respect of his terrorist ambitions were, we say, limitless."

    On a computer memory stick found at Mr Sarwar's home, said Mr Wright, was: "Information about one of the largest gas stations in the UK, oil refineries, the National Grid, and power stations including nuclear power stations.

    "There was also information on Chernobyl and UK airports, including Heathrow's new control tower."

    The memory stick also included information on Canary Wharf.

    A diary found in Mr Sarwar's home included the names of oil refineries at Fawley in Hampshire, Kingsbury, Warwicks., Coryton, Essex, and a gas terminal at Bacton, Norfolk.

    The alleged plotters bought a flat in Walthamstow, East London, to use as a "bomb factory", Mr Wright told Woolwich Crown Court, and had bought all the materials they needed to assemble liquid-based bombs which could be "smuggled" on aircraft disguised as soft drinks.

    The jury was shown a video of a test explosion carried out in a police laboratory using a similar bomb, which was so powerful it shattered thick protective glass set up around the bomb.

    During raids on Ali's home, police found a letter which talked about his "beautiful wife" and nine-month-old son.

    It said: "It is more dear to my heart that I am waiting in a tent in the cold, dark, chilly wind waiting for dawn so that I may attack the enemy."

    A CD found at another address allegedly linked to him, titled "ha ha ha!", contained footage of the beheading of an American hostage by Islamic extremists.

    Gang's possible other targets identified in court

    The alleged plotters had considered other targets in the UK, the court heard.

    They were:

    Canary Wharf

    The National Grid

    A gas pipeline between Britain and Belgium

    UK airports, including Heathrow's new control tower

    Oil and gas refineries at Bacton, Fawley, Correton and Kingsbury

    Several UK power plants, including nuclear stations

    Companies which store and process hydrogen peroxide


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