Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 October 2019

Group had buried weapons in desert

Forty-one men are on trial charged with belonging to an illegal organisation called Shabab Al Manara, which aimed to create a caliphate in the UAE.

ABU DHABI // A group of people set up a military-style base in the desert where they buried weapons and planned attacks on tourist areas on New Year’s Eve last year, the Federal Supreme Court has heard.

Forty-one men are on trial charged with belonging to an illegal organisation called Shabab Al Manara, which aimed to create a caliphate in the UAE.

The court saw two videos showing five defendants, including M A R and A A H, shot by public prosecution in Al Rifaa desert in Ras Al Khaimah, where the group had set up a winter camp to “give lectures, play sports and train with weapons by shooting cups”.

A A H said the group’s objective was to commit violent acts that would allow it to take over the government.

“The group shrouds itself under false pretences claiming the spread of Islamic teachings, when their real goal is a call for jihad. They said the ruler was a disbeliever and he doesn’t follow Sharia.

“They wanted to kill everyone who was loyal to him. The weapons were to be used in the many planned attacks, but not all members agreed,” A A H said.

M A R and A A H admitted it was them in the videos when questioned by the court, but claimed that the audio recording of their voices had been altered.

Prosecutors said the case was exceptional in its events and level of criminal danger.

“The case started with K A K, who was trying to take over the leadership to create a caliphate. However, he failed to see the terrorism it would create in the country. He used Al Manara mosque and Al Arqam school to spread his ideals and established the group in order to achieve authority.

“He planned on wrecking malls, centres and towers, one of which was planned to take place on the eve of new year last year, but they were arrested,” prosecutors said.

“The group smuggled weapons and communicated with and financially aided international terrorist groups to later ensure their support.

“They trained in weapons use and fighting, and collected books on how to take over the rulership and destroy non-Muslims.”

Weapons and ammunition were also buried in Al Warqa in Dubai, prosecutors said, adding that one of the defendants had paid Dh20,000 for three remote-controlled bombs, while two others received training on how to operate the bombs and conducted several tests with the bombs in Al Rifaa desert.

Prosecutors said the group planned to bomb nightclubs, hotels and other tourist areas in Dubai, and looked for assistance from Al Ansar movement in Iran.

Members of the group learnt how to shoot at two paintball clubs in Dubai and Al Ain.

The case was adjourned for further hearings on December 20 and 27, and January 3.

aalkhoori@thenational.ae

nalremeithi@thenational.ae

Updated: December 8, 2015 04:00 AM

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