1. ITV Report

Trio guilty of biggest suicide bomb plot in Britain

(Left to right) Ashik Ali, Irfan Khalid and Irfan Naseer found guilty of being "central figures" in a terrorist bomb plot. Photo:

Three men have been found guilty of plotting the biggest ever suicide bomb campaign in Britain.

Woolwich Crown Court heard Irfan Naseer, 31, Irfan Khalid, 27, and Ashik Ali, 27, were the "central figures" in an extremist plan to set off up to eight bombs in rucksacks.

But their plot was foiled by a police surveillance operation, which tracked their movements and even their conversations as their plans progressed.

The men first came to the attention of the police after Naseer and Khalid spent eight months in Pakistan in 2009. It later emerged the pair had been learning about explosives, IEDS and poisons at a terror training camp.

A surveillance operation - Operation Pitsford - was launched and the men were monitored by police, which included the bugging of a car and a flat.

The 18-month operation culminated in the men's arrest and although by that stage the trio had not decided on a target or a timeline, detectives described them as the "real deal" and prosecutors say there would have been a danger to the public had their plans become reality.

Prosecutor Brian Altman QC said:

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.

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.

The trial heard the men raised £12,000 to fund their trips to Pakistan by posing as Muslim Aid charity street collectors, and applied for tens of thousands of pounds in loans after losing more than £9,000 of the money playing foreign currency markets.

Jurors were also told that as the trio, from Birmingham, were watched and recorded by police in a car travelling around the city, Khalid described the group as "suicide bombers driving around ready to take on England".

Discussing their plot, Irfan Khalid was also recorded saying: “This is revenge for everything, what we’re doing is another 9/11."

Naseer, was found guilty of five counts of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts, Khalid four and Ali three, all between Christmas Day 2010 and September 19, 2011.

For Nasser, from Sparkhill, Khalid, from Sparkbrook, and Ali, from Balsall Heath, this included planning a bombing campaign, collecting money for terrorism and recruiting others for terrorism.

Nasser and Khalid were also found guilty of travelling to Pakistan for training in terrorism, and Naseer was found to have helped others travel to the country for the same purpose.

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