British bomb plotters jailed


Summary

Judge Michael Astill said the men were intent on causing "indiscriminate death and suffering" as he sentenced them at London's Central Criminal Court to a minimum of between 35 and 40 years behind bars.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair's official spokesman said the inquiry had saved "many lives" in foiling what the head of Scotland Yard's anti-terrorism unit, Peter Clarke, described as "trained, dedicated, ruthless terrorists."

"I have no doubt that there are clear links straight into Al-Qaeda," Clarke said.

The five were convicted of conspiring to bomb a central London nightclub and shopping centre, bring down a plane as well as hit gas and electricity supplies, to commit what Clarke said was "mass murder" in the process.

One of the five also discussed trying to buy a radioactive "dirty bomb" from the Russian mafia to be "bigger than 9/11", but nothing appeared to have come from his enquiries, Britain's longest-running terrorism trial was told.

London bombing link

But Home Secretary John Reid ruled out calls for a fresh inquiry into the July 7, 2005 London suicide attacks, despite revelations that one of the five, Omar Khyam, had links with the presumed ringleader Mohammed Sidique Khan.

Khyam, 25, met Khan in terrorist training camps in Pakistan and at least four times in England, while the former was under surveillance by Britain's domestic intelligence service, MI5, in the final stages of plotting.

He also boasted of working for Al-Qaeda's number three, Abdul Hadi.

US authorities announced last Friday that Hadi, also known as Adbul al-Hadi al-Iraqi, had been captured and taken to the US-run Guantanamo Bay detention camp for security suspects in Cuba.

Khyam also met another of the bombers, Shehzad Tanweer, but MI5 assessed that Khan and Tanweer were "peripheral" figures.

They and two other bombers went on to kill themselves and 52 others, as well as injure more than 700 people, on London transport in July 2005.

Khyam's links with Khan and Tanweer was kept from jurors during the year-long trial, for fear of prejudicing their deliberations.

The British government has previously said there was no warning before the 2005 attacks in London.

The chairman of the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee, Labour lawmaker Paul Murphy, said they remained satisfied there were "no culpable failures" by the security services in relation to intelligence.

In its official report into the 2005 bombings, Murphy's committee last year said the failure to identify Khan was a "missed opportunity".

Mr Blair's spokesman said: "We shouldn't jump from the fact that new evidence has now been made public to the assumption that in some way '7/7' could have been prevented."

Ruling out a new inquiry, Reid told the lower House of Commons in parliament that to allow one would divert the police and security services away from the fight against terrorism.

Seven men were arrested on March 30, 2004 after more than half a ton of ammonium nitrate fertiliser was discovered in a storage facility in west London.

Khyam, Anthony Garcia, 25, Jawad Akbar, 23, Waheed Mahmood, 35, and 32-year-old Salahuddin Amin were all convicted of conspiracy to cause explosions likely to endanger life.

Two of their co-defendants — Shujah Mahmood, 20, and 22-year-old Nabeel Hussain — were cleared of the same charge.

Khyam and Garcia were found guilty of possessing 600 kilograms of the chemical for terrorist purposes. Hussain, who faced the same charge, was cleared.

All the men denied the charges.


Judge Michael Astill said the men were intent on causing "indiscriminate death and suffering" as he sentenced them at London's Central Criminal Court to a minimum of between 35 and 40 years behind bars.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair's official spokesman said the inquiry had saved "many lives" in foiling what the head of Scotland Yard's anti-terrorism unit, Peter Clarke, described as "trained, dedicated, ruthless terrorists."

"I have no doubt that there are clear links straight into Al-Qaeda," Clarke said.

The five were convicted of conspiring to bomb a central London nightclub and shopping centre, bring down a plane as well as hit gas and electricity supplies, to commit what Clarke said was "mass murder" in the process.

One of the five also discussed trying to buy a radioactive "dirty bomb" from the Russian mafia to be "bigger than 9/11", but nothing appeared to have come from his enquiries, Britain's longest-running terrorism trial was told.

London bombing link

But Home Secretary John Reid ruled out calls for a fresh inquiry into the July 7, 2005 London suicide attacks, despite revelations that one of the five, Omar Khyam, had links with the presumed ringleader Mohammed Sidique Khan.

Khyam, 25, met Khan in terrorist training camps in Pakistan and at least four times in England, while the former was under surveillance by Britain's domestic intelligence service, MI5, in the final stages of plotting.

He also boasted of working for Al-Qaeda's number three, Abdul Hadi.

US authorities announced last Friday that Hadi, also known as Adbul al-Hadi al-Iraqi, had been captured and taken to the US-run Guantanamo Bay detention camp for security suspects in Cuba.

Khyam also met another of the bombers, Shehzad Tanweer, but MI5 assessed that Khan and Tanweer were "peripheral" figures.

They and two other bombers went on to kill themselves and 52 others, as well as injure more than 700 people, on London transport in July 2005.

Khyam's links with Khan and Tanweer was kept from jurors during the year-long trial, for fear of prejudicing their deliberations.

The British government has previously said there was no warning before the 2005 attacks in London.

The chairman of the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee, Labour lawmaker Paul Murphy, said they remained satisfied there were "no culpable failures" by the security services in relation to intelligence.

In its official report into the 2005 bombings, Murphy's committee last year said the failure to identify Khan was a "missed opportunity".

Mr Blair's spokesman said: "We shouldn't jump from the fact that new evidence has now been made public to the assumption that in some way '7/7' could have been prevented."

Ruling out a new inquiry, Reid told the lower House of Commons in parliament that to allow one would divert the police and security services away from the fight against terrorism.

Seven men were arrested on March 30, 2004 after more than half a ton of ammonium nitrate fertiliser was discovered in a storage facility in west London.

Khyam, Anthony Garcia, 25, Jawad Akbar, 23, Waheed Mahmood, 35, and 32-year-old Salahuddin Amin were all convicted of conspiracy to cause explosions likely to endanger life.

Two of their co-defendants — Shujah Mahmood, 20, and 22-year-old Nabeel Hussain — were cleared of the same charge.

Khyam and Garcia were found guilty of possessing 600 kilograms of the chemical for terrorist purposes. Hussain, who faced the same charge, was cleared.

All the men denied the charges.