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04 February 2012

Terrorists admit plot to bomb London Stock Exchange and US Embassy

terror-bomb-5_2126035c.jpgFour al-Qaeda inspired terrorists have pleaded guilty to plotting a Christmas bomb attack on the London Stock Exchange, the American embassy and the home of London Mayor Boris Johnson.

Two of the men conducted a surveillance trip around central London and also talked about launching a Mumbai-style attack on Parliament.

A “target list” was found at the home of the ring-leader which listed the names and addresses of Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, as well as two Rabbis and the American Embassy. It had on it the letters ‘LXC’ for London Stock Exchange.

Torn pieces of paper showed a sketch of what is believed to be a car bomb.

Three other men met with the plotters and planned to travel abroad to get more training before returning to launch further attacks. Another two men pleaded guilty to associated charges.

The men, from London, Stoke and Cardiff, were inspired by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsular (AQAP) and used their English-language magazine Inspire as a guide.

In Stoke the gang talked about attacking local pubs and clubs but decided to travel abroad to get more training.

In East London, Mohammed Chowdhury, 21, the ring leader, and Shah Rahman, 29, were under surveillance as they toured central London sites for six hours between 3.30pm and 9.30pm on November 28 2010.

They got off a bus in Trafalgar Square and walked along Whitehall towards Westminster. They were observed looking at Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, Blackfriars Bridge and the Church of Scientology on Queen Victoria Street.

After visiting a McDonalds restaurant on Cannon Street in the City of London, the two men boarded a bus back towards East London.

In the bedroom at Chowdhury’s flat in the Isle of Dogs, police found a handwritten target list on a folded piece of A4 paper on the computer desk.

The Stoke group have their origins in Pakistan, while the London and Cardiff groups were originally from Bangladesh.

The three groups were inspired by Anwar al-Awlaki, one of the leaders of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsular, who died in a drone attack last year.

The defendants made contact with each other through dawah – proselytising - or by Paltalk or other internet messaging.

Meetings took place in November and December 2010 at which the defendants planned to use explosive devices to attack significant locations in London and around the country.

Their plans could be carried out without much preparation and were very difficult to intercept, sources said.

The London and Cardiff groups were keen to act quickly, at first talking about sending mail bombs through the Royal Mail and then deciding on a plan to set off bombs in the toilets of the stock exchange.

The Stoke group talked about persuading others to take bombs into pubs in their area so that they would explode.

Abdul Miah, 25, said to be at the centre of the Cardiff gang, and his brother Omar Latif, 28, pleaded guilty to taking part in the Stock Exchange plot. Gurukanth Desai, 30, pleaded guilty to attending meetings.

Mohibur Rahman, 27, from Stoke pleaded guilty to possession of a document containing information useful to a person preparing an act of terrorism.

The charges relate to two editions of al-Qaeda’s English language Inspire magazine.

Usman Khan, 20, Mohammed Shahjahan, 27, and Nazam Hussain, 26, all from Stoke pleaded guilty to preparing acts of terrorism.

At Khan’s home in Persia Walk, Stoke, police officers recovered a folded A4 sheet of paper which bore notes of the structure, roles and responsibilities of individuals in a terrorist cell.

It included the headings ‘structure’, ‘responsibilities’, ‘communication’ and ‘local’ and appeared to be written by Shahjahan.



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