One of Britain’s most sensational terror trials concluded on Monday with three young men of Pakistani origin being convicted of plotting to blow up a number of U.S.-bound flights leaving Heathrow airport in the autumn of 2006.
The three — Abdulla Ahmed Ali (28), Assad Sarwar (29), and Tanvir Hussain (28) — were among the eight men arrested following the discovery of the alleged plot in August 2006 sparking a nationwide alert and enhanced security measures at airports and on planes, including a ban on carrying liquid on board.
A jury at Woolwich Crown Court found them guilty of conspiring to cause mid-air explosions by triggering bombs disguised as drinks.
Prosecution claimed that the aim was to cause “mass murder” in what would have been the worst terror atrocity since the 9/11 attacks. At the time of their arrest they were believed to have identified at least seven trans-Atlantic flights as potential targets.
The plot, according to the police, was inspired by Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and could have caused unprecedented casualties as the men were “prepared to kill and to do so on a wholly indiscriminate basis, irrespective of age, belief, sex and to do so without the slightest blink of an eye”.
It was the second time that the men were tried after a jury in a previous trial was not able to decide whether the conspiracy to murder, using liquid bombs, extended to blowing up planes in mid-air.
During their trial, the trio admitted to conspiring to cause explosions but denied that they wanted to kill anyone. They also admitted to planning to make videos threatening to cause bomb explosions in places like airports and gas terminals in order to highlight “injustices” against Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon.