CBC : Alleged bomb plot involved Canadian planes, say British prosecutors

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Alleged bomb plot involved Canadian planes, say British prosecutors

April 2, 2008

Flights to Canada and the United States were targets in an alleged plot to blow up airliners over the Atlantic Ocean, British prosecutors said Wednesday in London.

Prosecutors allege eight British men planned to carry small bombs — made with liquid explosives — in plastic drink containers on board the planes in 2006.

The suspects were arrested last August in a two-day operation that led to the cancellations of hundreds of flights in and out of Britain.

The arrests also changed the way passengers around the world fly, as restrictions were put into place on carrying liquids, gels and aerosols aboard planes.

The trial, set to begin Thursday in London, is expected to last eight months and shed light on how many and which Canadian planes may have been targeted.

Judge David Calvert-Smith told about 100 prospective jurors during a selection hearing on Wednesday that the trial would be long and complex.

"This case concerns an allegation that in 2006 a number of men planned to create bombs which some of their number would take on board passenger aircraft flying from London Heathrow to various destinations in Canada and the U.S.A.," Calvert-Smith said.

Ahmed Abdullah Ali, Assad Sarwar, Tanvir Hussain, Umar Islam, Arafat Waheed Khan, Ibrahim Savant, Waheed Zaman, and Mohammed Gulzar are the eight charged.

All eight are accused of conspiracy to murder and of planning acts of violence likely to endanger the safety of an aircraft. Both charges carry maximum sentences of life imprisonment.