UK & World News
EDL Terror Attack Plot: Six Men Plead Guilty
A planned terror attack - possibly aimed at assassinating English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson - only failed because the rally being targeted finished earlier than planned and the would-be attackers turned up late.
Six islamist extremists from the Birmingham area have pleaded guilty to plotting the attack on an EDL march in the West Yorkshire town of Dewsbury last June.
Omar Mohammed Khan, 28, Mohammed Hasseen, 23, Anzal Hussain, 24, Mohammed Saud, 22, and Zohaib Ahmed, 22, and Jewel Uddin, 27, all British nationals, appeared at Woolwich Crown Court.
The court heard they planned to ambush EDL marchers using shotguns, explosives, knives and swords.
West Midlands Police have defended their actions surrounding the case after it emerged one of the men, Uddin, had been under low-level surveillance in connection with another terrorist plot.
They confirmed he was an associate of some suspects in a Birmingham-based plot to set off a series of rucksack bombs, which they claimed would rival the 7/7 attacks.
But a source told Sky News there had been nothing to suggest in his behaviour and movements that he was involved in any other terrorist planning.
Prosecutors say five of the defendants in the EDL case travelled to the town to carry out the attack on the afternoon of June 30.
When they arrived there in two vehicles at 4pm and discovered the rally had already ended, they drove around Dewsbury for a while before heading back to Birmingham.
The plot only came to light after one of the vehicles, a Renault Laguna driven by Khan, was stopped later that day in a routine check by a police traffic patrol, on the M1 near Sheffield. The car had no valid insurance.
The vehicle was impounded and when it was searched by staff at a compound two days later, they discovered a haul of deadly weapons.
The cache included two sawn-off shotguns and ammunition, as well as an improvised explosive device packed with 458 pieces of metal shrapnel, including nails.
Police also found three partially constructed pipe bombs, samurai swords, machetes and numerous knives.
Also in the boot of the car were 10 leaflets dated the June 30, the day of the planned attack.
Titled, 'Operation in Defence of the Prophet Mohammed', the leaflets set out the men's justification for the planned attack.
It read: "To the enemies of Allah and His Messenger. This is a message to the kuffar female devil, the self-proclaimed Queen Elizabeth and her accursed jubilee, fooling a nation of blind sheep.
" ... To the EDL (English Drunkards League), enemies of Allah: Today is a day of retaliation for your blasphemy of Allah and his messenger Mohammed.
"We love death more than you love life. The penalty for blasphemy of Allah and his messenger is death.
"What we did today was a direct retaliation for your blasphemy of Allah and the Prophet Mohammed."
A spokesman for West Midlands Police said that had the plot succeeded, it would almost certainly have resulted in significant casualties.
Uddin and Khan were arrested by armed police in Birmingham three days after their failed attack. The others were detained a day later.
Senior sources have told Sky News the terror cell appeared to a be a home-grown group.
There is apparently no evidence any of the men travelled to Pakistan or other countries to receive terrorist training.
However, terrorist-related literature and training manuals were discovered during subsequent searches of properties linked to the men.
The group had carried out significant research on their targets. Computers seized by police revealed they had visited internet sites about the EDL.
Although there is no firm evidence EDL leader Tommy Robinson was an intended target, the plotters' computers show they had specifically searched for him online.
Despite apparently not having direct links to al Qaeda or other militant groups, the authorities say the group possessed a good degree of knowledge, especially about counter-surveillance techniques.
On the day of the planned attack they travelled to Dewsbury without their mobile phones, a well-known anti-surveillance tactic to prevent their location being pinpointed.
The six will be sentenced on the June 6.