Three suspects from Birmingham, England, were found guilty on Thursday of plotting a bombing campaign intended to be even larger than the 7/7 London attacks that occurred on May 7, 2005, in which 52 people were killed.
Although the intended targets of the three Islamists remain unknown, it is clear to the police and members of the Security Service, MI5, that the convicted terrorists intended to inflict as much destruction and death as possible by recruiting a team of suicide bombers to carry out attacks..
Irfan Naseer, 31, Irfan Khalid, 27, and Ashik Ali, 27, were plotting to set off up to eight explosive devices in crowded areas, and set up a charity collection scam in order to raise money to fund their planned terrorist operations, according to MI5.
Naseer and Khalid were also found guilty of attending a terrorist training camp in Pakistan and Naseer with assisting four younger men to travel there after them.
All three will also face sentencing for trying to recruit others from Birmingham to join the plot which Khalid described as being "another 9-11". Naseer talked of "spilling so much blood you'll have nightmares for the rest of your lives."
The convictions come at the end of a 14-week trial at Woolwich Crown Court. A jury of six men and six women returned unanimous verdicts, finding the defendants guilty of all 12 charges of engaging in conduct in preparation of acts of terrorism.
Karen Jones, specialist counterterrorism prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "These men had dangerous aspirations and whilst the precise targets remained unclear, the potential for damage and loss of life from their plot should not be underestimated."
"The evidence we put to the court showed the defendants discussing with awe and admiration the attacks of 9/11 and 7/7. These terrorists wanted to do something bigger, speaking of how 7/7 had gone a bit wrong," noted Jones.
"Having traveled to Pakistan for expert training and preparation, Naseer and Khalid returned to the UK where they discussed attacks involving up to eight rucksacks. Had they not been stopped, the consequences would have been catastrophic," Jones said.
The case followed a lengthy investigation that produced 25,000 pages of evidence including video and audio material. The Crown Prosecution Service commended the success of the case, saying that it was "largely down to the close working between [West Midlands] police, the Security Service (MI5) and the CPS."
Jim Kouri, CPP, is founder and CEO of Kouri Associates, a homeland security, public safety and political consulting firm. He's formerly Fifth Vice-President, now a Board Member of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, an editor for ConservativeBase.com, and he's a columnist for Examiner.com. In addition, he's a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com) and editor of Conservative Base Magazine (www.conservativebase.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.
He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at St. Peter's University and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country.
He holds a bachelor of science in Criminal Justice from Southwest University and SCI Technical School in New York City and completed training at the NYC Police Academy, FBI Continuing Education Program, and the Certified Protection Professional (CPP) of the American Society for Industrial Security.
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