UK & World News
Terrorist Bomb Plot: Three Men Convicted
Three men have been found guilty of leading a terrorist bomb plot that couldhave been bigger than the July 7 atrocities.
Irfan Naseer, 31, Irfan Khalid, 27, and Ashik Ali, 27, all from Birmingham, wanted up to eight suicide bombers to detonate rucksacks packed with explosives in crowded places.
"They were deadly serious and they were hell bent because of the training they'd had and the things they said," said Detective Inspector Adam Gough, from West Midlands Police.
"On committing these acts there's no doubt whatsoever they were going to build bombs and martyr themselves and kill as many people as they could."
Prosecutor Brian Altman QC told the jury: "The police successfully disrupted a plan to commit an act or acts of terrorism on a scale potentially greater than the London bombings in July 2005, had it been allowed to run its course."
Naseer, known as 'Chubbs' or 'Big Irfan', and Khalid, nicknamed 'Little Irfan' both spent a total of 15 months, during two trips, in terror training camps in Pakistan, and made martyrdom videos.
They shared all they knew with Ali, who provided his council flat as a 'safe house' for them to meet in Balsall Heath.
In September 2011, when they started to experiment with making bombs, officers, who had them under surveillance, decided to arrest them.
They found that Naseer, a trained chemist from Sparkhill, had written instructions on how to assemble an improvised explosive device or IED.
Inspired by al Qaeda, the cell criticised the 7/7 London bombers for not putting nails in their explosives.
Counter Terrorism Officers, who were recording their conversations, overheard them discussing the use of AK47 assault rifles and poisons, as well as blowing themselves up. No specific target locations were mentioned.
The men even raised more than £13,000 in bogus Muslim Aid collections in Sparkbrook for their plot, over 23 days. They only had a licence to collect for one day. Only a fraction of the money reached the charity.
Mr Justice Henriques told the trio that they will all face life in prison when they are sentenced in April or May.
Speaking to Naseer, he said he had been convicted on "overwhelming evidence" and that he will face "a very long minimum term".
The judge said: "You are a highly skilled bomb maker and explosives expert. Your mindset was similarly manifest."
Four other men, Naweed Ali, 24, Ishaaq Hussain, 20, Khobaib Hussain, 20 and Shahid Khan, 20, admitted travelling to Pakistan for terrorist training. Three returned within days and a fourth later, after the family of one of them discovered where they had gone.
Mujtahid Hussain, 21, who was heavily involved in raising money for terrorism has admitted fund raising.
Two people whom the three allegedly tried to recruit to their plan, Ashik Ali's older brother, Bahader Ali, 29, and Mohammed Rizwan, 34, deny the charges they face and are due to stand trial later.
Ashik Ali's estranged wife, Salma Kabal, 23, who is accused of knowing of her husband's terrorist intentions but failing to disclose them to the authorities, will also be tried later.