Three men, accused of planning a mass suicide bombing campaign in Britain, went on trial on Monday. Police claimed that they were planning an attack on a scale “potentially greater” than the London attacks of July 7, 2005, which killed 52 people.
Irfan Naseer (31), Irfan Khalid (27), and Ashik Ali (27) were among 11 men of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin arrested along with one woman in a series of anti-terror raids in Birmingham in September last year.
The charges, denied by the all three, related to the period between December 2010 and September 2011.
According to the prosecution, they intended to “cause mass deaths and casualties” and their plans were in an advanced stage when they were arrested.
A jury at the Woolwich Crown Court was told that Mr. Naseer and Mr. Khalid received training in Pakistan and had recorded “martyrdom videos” that would have been broadcast had the plot succeeded. They had begun experimenting with the construction of home-made bombs and timed detonation devices, it was alleged. Presenting the prosecution case, Brian Altman, QC, described the accused as “jihadists” and “extremists” and said they were influenced by the al-Qaeda preachers Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a drone strike in Yemen last year.
“The defendants were proposing to detonate up to eight rucksack bombs in a suicide attack and/or to detonate bombs on timers in crowded areas in order to cause mass deaths and casualties,” he said adding that one “even described a plan to cause another 9/11”, he added.
The three were “senior members of a home-grown terror cell”, the court was told, and they were supported by others who raised funds for them posing as workers for a Muslim charity.
The trial continues.