MI5 dismissed 7/7 ringleader as Jihadi ‘tourist’, inquest hears

February 23rd, 2011 - 3:07 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Feb 23 (ANI): British Intelligence outfit MI5 had dismissed the July 7 ringleader as a Jihadi ‘tourist’ when he had travelled to Pakistan in 2003 to attend a terrorist training camp, the inquest into the 2005 attacks on London’s transport system has heard.

Mohammed Sidique Khan was a part of a ’social’ breakfast gathering at Islamabad Airport, along with fertiliser bomb plotter Omar Khyam in 2003. Despite the fact that the Security Service was hunting for Khyam during the same time, the meeting had failed to raise suspicions, the Daily Mail reports.

Meanwhile, another source, known as Detainee 2, has claimed that Ibrahim and Zubair were sent to Pakistan on a ‘fact finding’ mission by Mohammed Quayum Khan, a suspected extremist.

A top-level spy–Witness G, however, ignored the information saying it “didn’t appear all that significant”.

“A phrase that is used in the Service than and is still used, is the phrase Jihadi tourism. Individuals go to Pakistan to have a look and see what’s going on, and the material from Detainee 2 would have tended, at that point, to suggest that perhaps that’s why they were going,” he added.

On being asked to describe how the meeting would have been viewed by MI5, Witness G said: “It would have been seen as a social gathering, but a social gathering of those who are like-minded extremists”.

Khan was watched by MI5 as part of Operation Crevice, an investigation into a major fertiliser bomb plot foiled in March 2004, but was not identified at that time, the inquest was told.

The inquest had earlier also heard that MI5 had missed an opportunity to identify Khan because a surveilance photograph of him that could have been shown to Babar was poorly edited.

Khan was secretly photographed at Toddington Service station on the M1 over a year ahead of the attacks after he met with another terrorist who was under surveillance, but an MI5 desk officer had changed the colour of the grainy picture to ‘black and white’ and cropped it so poorly that it was eventually not sent to Babar in America. (ANI)

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