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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Suicide bombing in Sweden: latest terrorist attack exported from UK

Suicide bombing in Sweden: latest terrorist attack exported from UK

December 13, 2010

Suicide bombing in Sweden: latest terrorist attack exported from UK
Centre for Social Cohesion Briefing, 13 December 2010

The suicide bombing in central Stockholm on Saturday is the latest example of an act of terror with significant connections to the UK. Iraqi-born Taimour Abdulwahab Al-Abdaly, who died during the attack, lived and studied in Luton in the UK from 2001.

29 year-old Al-Abdaly moved to Sweden in 1992 and became a Swedish citizen. In 2001, he moved to Luton and attended the University of Bedfordshire, graduating in 2004 with a BSc in Sports therapy. In 2007, Al-Abdaly began preaching sermons at the Luton Islamic Centre. The Chairman of the mosque expelled him after he publicly stated that the West had no right to interfere in Iraq and Afghanistan and that Muslims "take matters into our own hands". It is believed he then started preaching at his former university's Islamic Society (ISoc). According to Swedish investigators al-Abdaly may have had accomplices and was following a number of radical groups on the social networking site Facebook.

Based on findings from its recent report, Islamist Terrorism: The British Connections, which examines the UK links to terrorism worldwide over the last 15 years, the Centre for Social Cohesion (CSC) can reveal:

1. Luton: connections to Islamism-inspired terrorism
Seven Britons based in or with significant connections to Luton have committed acts of Islamism-inspired terrorism in the last 12 years. Three were members of the proscribed group al-Muhajiroun, who are active in Luton.

2. UK: exports foreign nationals to join terrorism plots worldwide
At least 30 foreign nationals who came to the UK to live or study went on to commit acts of terrorism abroad – often bomb plots targeting European countries.

3. British universities: centres of radicalisation
There have been several high-profile cases where students or graduates took part in Islamism-inspired attacks or were convicted for terrorist offences in the UK. At least five individuals involved in acts of terror were senior members of a UK university ISoc, three of whom were involved in suicide plots.


Seven Britons based in or with significant connections to Luton have committed acts of Islamism-inspired terrorism in the last 12 years. These include:

‘Aden ten' Yemen terrorist attacks, 1998
Convicted in Yemen in August 1999, Ghulam Hussein was part of a group – known as the ‘Aden ten' convicted of ‘forming an armed gang intending to carry out murderous acts of sabotage and terrorism.' The group was linked to the radical Finsbury Park mosque preacher Abu Hamza and the Islamic Army of Aden. Hussein lived in Luton and studied a business course at the University of Bedfordshire.

Taliban supporters, 2001
Three young men, Aftab Manzoor, Afzal Munir and Mohamed Omar, left their homes in Luton for Afghanistan. Fighting on behalf of the Taliban and the Pakistani terrorist group Harkat-ul-Mujahideen they were all killed in October 2001. Manzoor and Munir were both studying computer engineering at the University of Bedfordshire and before they left all three were involved with the banned group al-Muhajiroun.

Fertiliser bomb plot, 2003
Salahuddin Amin, sentenced to life for his role in the 2003 Fertiliser bomb plot which targeted London nightclubs and other public buildings in the UK and US, lived in Luton. Amin met Omar Khyam, ringleader of the Fertiliser cell, at a mosque in Luton in 2001.

Dirty Bomb plot, 2004
Abdul Aziz Jalil was sentenced to 26 years for his role as a ‘lieutenant' in Dhiren Barot's terrorist cell, which was planning attacks on a series of targets in the US and the UK, including financial buildings and the London Underground. Court documentation specifies that Jalil was ‘Barot's most trusted associate' and was closely involved in the research and planning of the UK attacks. British born Jalil lived in Luton and studied for a degree in information systems at the University of Bedfordshire.

7/7 London attacks, 2005
The four 7/7 suicide bombers met in Luton on the day of the attacks. After moving to Buckinghamshire, bomber Germaine Lindsay began to visit Luton regularly where it is reported he spent his time in increasingly radical circles.


Al-Abdaly is not the first foreign national who spent time in the UK to have then committed terrorism abroad. At least 21 foreign nationals with UK connections have been convicted abroad and a further nine either committed suicide attacks or were fighting ‘jihad' abroad. All 30 had either lived in the UK (some claiming political asylum) or studied at British institutions.

Targets worldwide
Of the 21 convictions: nine men were convicted in Europe (three in Germany; two in Belgium and France respectively; and one in Italy and the Netherlands respectively); four in the United States; two in Yemen and Algeria respectively; one in Australia, Morocco, Canada and Lebanon respectively. Nationalities varied from Kuwaiti, Algerian, Tunisian, Libyan, French, American, Australian, Moroccan, Canadian, and Syrian.

Links to extremists
At least 22 of the 30 associated with extremists during their time in the UK. This includes: 13 who were associated with Abu Hamza's Finsbury Park mosque; one who was a member of the Committee for the Defence of Legitimate Rights – an al-Qaeda linked Saudi dissident group in the UK; and others were linked to UK-based members of terrorist networks.

Bomb plots
At least 15 of those convicted were connected to bomb plots either in the UK or abroad. These include the: 1993 World Trade Center bomb plot in the US; 1998 Yemen bomb plot against Western targets; 2002 al-Qaeda plot to bomb a NATO airbase in Belgium; 2000 Christmas market bomb plot in Strasbourg, Germany; 2001 al-Qaeda inspired suicide plot to target the US embassy and US cultural centre in Paris; 2001 9/11 attacks; 2002 plot to detonate truck bombs at the Israeli Embassy in Canberra and the Israeli Consulate in Sydney, Australia; 2003 Casablanca bombings in Morocco; 2003 UK Fertiliser bomb plot.

Fighting ‘jihad' abroad
The nine individuals who committed suicide attacks or fought ‘jihad' abroad – the earliest of which was in 2000 – fought in Cechnya, Iraq, Somalia and Pakistan. These involved French, Algerian, Saudi Arabian, Pakistani, Somali and Yemeni nationals.


Al-Abdaly is the not the first student at a UK university to become involved in violent Islamism. In recent years there have been several high-profile cases where students or graduates took part in Islamism-inspired terrorist attacks or were convicted for terrorist offences. Islamist Terrorism shows that at least 31% of individuals involved in Islamism-inspired terrorist acts in the UK have attended university or a higher education institute.

At least five individuals involved in acts of terrorism were senior members of a UK university ISoc – three of whom were involved in suicide plots:

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab – the 23 year old Nigerian responsible for the failed bombing of Northwest Airlines flight 253 on Christmas Day, was a mechanical engineering and business finance student at University College London (UCL) from 2005-08. He was president of the student union's Islamic Society (ISoc) in the academic year 2006-07.

Kafeel Ahmed – died in August 2007 after driving a burning jeep packed with explosive material into Glasgow airport on 30 June of that same year. Kafeel's cell also planted failed car bombs in the West End of London the day before the Glasgow attack. Ahmed completed an MSc in aeronautical engineering at Queen's University Belfast, where he served on the executive of the university ISoc and was involved with the Islamic Student Society of Northern Ireland (ISSNI).

Waheed Zaman – part of an al-Qaeda-inspired ‘Transatlantic liquid bomb' plot to simultaneously detonate homemade liquid bombs on transatlantic flights in 2006. Convicted of conspiracy to murder, Zaman was a biomedical science student and formerly the president of London Metropolitan University's student ISoc, in whose offices literature and audio cassettes from al-Muhajiroun were found.

Waseem Mughal – member of the University of Leicester ISoc who was convicted of inciting murder for terrorist purposes overseas in July 2007. Mughal and his two co-accused Tariq al-Daour and Younes Tsouli were the first conviction for incitement in the UK based on material posted online. Mughal, who had a first class degree in biochemistry from the University of Leicester, was studying for a Master's there at the time of his arrest and ran the University of Leicester ISoc website.

Yassin Nassari – convicted of possession for terrorist purposes in July after he was found at a UK airport with a blueprint for the al-Qassam rocket used by Hamas militants in his luggage. Police also found a computer hard-drive in his luggage containing documents about martyrdom and weapons training, as well as recordings of lectures by extremist clerics. A cognitive science student, Nassari was president of the University of Westminster Harrow campus ISoc.

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MIM: Also see:

"Stockholm bomber: family blame Britain for radicalisation"


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