x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Nine Britons inspired by Al Qaeda leader admit plot to bomb UK parliament

Followers of Anwar Al Awlaki, all in their late teens or twenties at the time of the planned attacks in 2010, also discussed launching a "Mumbai-style" atrocity which also plotted to target the US Embassy in London.

LONDON // Nine young followers of the late Al Qaeda leader Anwar Al Awlaki yesterday admitted a string of terror offences, including a plot to send bombs to the Houses of Parliament and the US Embassy in London.

The group, all in their late teens or twenties at the time of the planned attacks in 2010, also discussed launching a "Mumbai-style" atrocity in Britain but were foiled from carrying out their plans by the security services.

Prosecutor Andrew Edis said that the nine, who all changed their pleas to guilty shortly before they were due to stand trial at Woolwich Crown Court, "were implementing the published strategy" of Awlaki's group, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

A target list for the nail bombs the group planned to send included the London mayor, Boris Johnson, two rabbis, the American embassy and the London Stock Exchange.

The nine - two from London, three from Cardiff and four from Stoke - will be formally sentenced next week but the judge has already indicated that the two Londoners who led the group, Mohammed Chowdury, 21, and Shah Rahman, 28, would be jailed for 18 years and six months, and 17 years respectively.

Mr Edis, who said that at least one of the group was planning to attend a terrorist training camp in Kashmir, told the court that the bomb plot had not been designed to kill.

"Their intention was to cause terror and economic harm and disruption. But their chosen method meant there was a risk people would be maimed or killed," he added.

dsapsted@thenational.ae