Pakistani-origin men in possible plot against British queen

August 19th, 2008 - 5:29 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 19 (IANS) A cell of young Pakistani-origin men found guilty of terror offences may have been plotting to attack the queen and other members of the British royal family, a newspaper reported Tuesday. Those targeted included Queen Elizabeth II, her husband Prince Philip, their sons Princes Charles, Andrews and Edward and daughter Princess Anne.

Also on the list were Princess Michael of Kent, the duke and duchess of Gloucester and the duke and duchess of Kent, the Daily Telegraph reported.

The plans were seized from Aabid Hussain Khan, a 23-year-old man from the northern city of Bradford, who was among three young men convicted Monday for terrorist offences.

Khan, along with Hammaad Munshi, 18, and Sultan Muhammad, 23, was found in possession of “huge volumes” of terrorism material, including Al Qaeda documents and information on poisons and firearms, police said.

Khan, an unemployed burger bar worker and the leader of the men, was stopped at Manchester airport as he returned from Pakistan in June 2006.

The Daily Telegraph said Khan had compiled pictures, maps and details of the opening hours of official residences from information available on the internet.

There were also details of London landmarks, including the houses of parliament, Tower Bridge and the underground as well as the New York and Washington metros and a homemade video of the Washington Memorial and World Bank in the US.

The paper quoted a counter-terrorism source as saying: “They had details of explosives and poisons along with information about London landmarks and a computer folder on Royal residences. We would be foolish to rule out the fact that they may have been planning an attack.”

Khan was convicted of three counts of possessing articles for terrorism but, the paper said, the jury was not told he was part of a network of international terrorists in Europe and North America.

The paper said Khan was closely connected to the alleged leader of a group of men currently awaiting trial for plotting an attack.

The BBC said when police searched Khan’s luggage upon his return from Pakistan in 2006, they were astonished to find evidence that dramatically illustrated his involvement in Islamist extremism and his dedication to the cause of the global jihad.

When detectives said they needed to swab his hands as he was suspected of handling explosives, he started to shake violently, and said: “I’ve been handling fireworks in Pakistan.”

Police said Khan groomed Hammaad Munshi, who became Britain’s youngest terrorist offender when he was arrested at the age of 16 in 2006.

Munshi was carrying two small bags of ball bearings, a key component of a suicide vest, when he was arrested on his way home from school.

He had been running his own website selling knives and Islamic flags and using the online identity Fidadee - meaning “to die for” - on the auction website ebay.

He also had handwritten notes on martyrdom and had created and circulated technical documents via email and secure web forums on how to make napalm, how to make a detonator and the production of homemade explosives.

The third man, Sultan Muhammed, a postman from Bradford, fled to London with 1,265 pounds in cash following Khan’s arrest.

When police raided his house they found maps of the London Underground, Jerusalem and Manhattan and a book entitled “Suicide Bombings”.

“Perhaps one of the most chilling videos was one that provided a step-by-step guide as to how to make a suicide bomber’s vest, using ball bearings as shrapnel and demonstrating the effects of such a bomb,” a police spokesperson said.

A fourth defendant, Ahmed Sulieman of south London, was cleared of all charges.

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