London: A British couple of Pakistan-origin has been found guilty of plotting a massive terror attack in London ahead of the 10th anniversary of the July 7 bombings this year.
The Old Bailey court in London yesterday convicted Mohammed Rehman, who tweeted about targeting the London Underground network and Westfield shopping centre of the city under the name “Silent Bomber”, and his wife Sana Ahmed Khan, who plotted to become Britain’s first woman suicide bomber.
The couple is said to be Pakistani origin as the man had a previous arranged marriage in that country. With money from wife Sana Ahmed Khan, the 25-year-old stockpiled chemicals needed to make a huge bomb at his family home in Reading, about an hour west of London, and even filmed himself setting off a small explosion in his back garden.
Susan Hemming, head of the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) counter-terrorism division, said: “The intention to carry out some form of terrorism attack was clear from the threatening statements made in Rehman’s tweets. It was these tweets that led to his and his wife’s arrest.
“Investigations found that Rehman and Ahmed Khan had carried out huge amounts of research relating to terrorist attacks – repeatedly searching the Internet for videos relating to the London bombings. 10kg of Urea Nitrate were found at Rehman’s house, a highly explosive chemical, which if detonated would have caused multiple fatalities on the London Underground.
“The pair had been very close to carrying out an attack, all they required was to purchase the chemicals to make a detonator. There is little doubt that, had Rehman and Ahmed Khan not been stopped when they were, they would have attempted to carry out an act of terrorism in London.”
Police began monitoring Rehman after he sent out a tweet in May as “Silent Bomber”.The tweet asked followers to advise him on where he should carry out a terrorist attack: “Westfield shopping centre or London underground? Any advice would be appreciated greatly.”
In another tweet, he said: “Plus I don’t need an army, all I need is my explosive vest and a beautiful area full of crowded ***** like you LOL.” Rehman used an image of the Jihadi John, believed killed earlier this year, as his profile picture. Rehman was also convicted of possessing an article for terrorist purposes. The couple will be sentenced later this week. The July 7, 2005 attacks had killed 52 civilians.