UK

EDL March Bomb Plot: Six Men Admit Terrorism Offences

30/04/2013 11:48 BST | Updated 30/04/2013 14:54 BST

Six Islamic extremists have admitted planning to bomb an EDL rally - and they only failed because it finished early.

Jewel Uddin, Omar Mohammed Khan, Mohammed Hasseen, Anzal Hussain, Mohammed Saud and Zohaib Ahmed admitted preparing an act of terrorism between May 1 and July 4 last year.

The murderous plan targeting the English Defence League (EDL) fell apart because the gathering in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, finished earlier than expected.

They were eventually stopped on the M1 on the way home, when their car was impounded for being uninsured.

The gang's weapons stash was only discovered days later when the vehicle was examined.

edl

The terrorists called the EDL the "English Drunkards League"

Police and security services had no intelligence about the planned attack on June 30 last year, although one of the would-be killers was under surveillance in relation to another terrorist plan.

Another of the group, Zohaib Ahmed, was also on bail for possession of terrorist documents at the time of the plot.

All of the men except Hasseen travelled to the rally armed with two shotguns, swords, knives, a nail bomb containing 458 pieces of shrapnel, and a partially assembled pipe bomb, ready to cause mass injuries and deaths.

The nail bomb was an 18-inch (46cm) long rocket which had been stuffed with shrapnel and was to be powered by explosives taken from at least two large fireworks.

Police estimated there could have been up to 750 EDL marchers at the Dewsbury event, but also dozens of officers and innocent passers-by.

The fanatics' plan failed by chance, because they arrived at 4pm when the rally had dispersed by 2pm.

The planned attack was only uncovered because a traffic officer stopped Uddin and Khan on the M1 as they travelled back to their home town, Birmingham.

He made checks on their Renault Laguna, which came up as being uninsured, and so the car was impounded.

It was only two days later that staff at the pound near Sheffield looked at the contents of the Renault and found the gang's arsenal.

There were also 10 copies of a hate-filled note addressed to the enemies of Islam, the Queen and Prime Minister David Cameron.

It said: "This is a message to the enemies of Allah and his messenger. This is a message to the kafir (non-believer) female devil and self-proclaimed Queen Elizabeth and her accursed jubilee, fooling a nation of blind sheep to your self-proclaimed royalty and majesty."

The document addressed the EDL directly, saying: "To the EDL (English Drunkards League). O enemies of Allah! We have heard and seen you openly insulting the final Messenger of Allah... you should know that for every action there is a reaction.

"Today is a day of retaliation (especially) for your blasphemy of Allah and his Messenger Muhammad. We love death more than you love life. The penalty for blasphemy of Allah and his Messenger Muhammad is death.

"What we did today was a direct retaliation of your insulting of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and also in retaliation of your crusade against Islam/Muslims on a global scale. It is of the greatest honour for us to do what we did."

CDs of speeches by radical preacher Anwar al-Awlaki were also found.

Police and security services had the sixth man under low-level surveillance in relation to another terrorist plot.

He had been seen with Khan going into a shop five days before the rally, but no officer followed them in to Home Choice in Sparkhill because contact would have been too close.

In fact they were going to buy the kitchen knives which were among the weapons that the gang planned to use.

Hasseen also pleaded guilty to possessing a document or record containing information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism on July 3.

All six of the men played five-a-side football together and went to the same gym at the Darul Ihsan Islamic centre, known as the Baker Street gym, where Saud and Hussain worked.

Police said they deliberately did not take their mobile phones with them on the day of the attack to try to avoid detection.

They had searched the internet for details of how much information detectives can glean from mobile phone data.

It can now be reported that Uddin was flagged up as a person of interest to security services and police after his minor involvement with another group of terrorist plotters.

He was involved as a bucket-shaker doing charity collections for the extremists, who planned to detonate up to eight rucksack bombs and possibly other devices on timers.

Irfan Naseer, 31, Irfan Khalid, 27, and Ashik Ali, 27, all from Birmingham, were convicted in February of planning the attack, which could have been bigger than the July 7 atrocities.

Four other men, including Anzal Hussain's brother Ishaaq, travelled to Pakistan for terror training as part of the plot, but were sent home when family members intervened.

The men, who sat impassively together, changed their pleas and admitted their involvement via videolink.

They will be sentenced on June 6.

Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC, the Recorder of Greenwich, told the men: "This will attract significant custody. There is no doubt about that."

Marcus Beale, assistant chief constable with West Midlands Police and responsible for its Counter Terrorism Unit, said the six were extremely dangerous and could have maimed, killed and brought misery which would "have transmitted fear and anxieties to our communities".

He said: "I am really pleased these six have pleaded guilty.

"They are clearly a radicalised group with extremely dangerous intent. Their intent was to recklessly cause mayhem and probably mass injuries."