Guardian : Terror suspect 'planned to take children on suicide attack'

Monday, May 05, 2008

Terror suspect 'planned to take children on suicide attack'

Haroon Siddique and agencies | April 23, 2008

The leader of a gang accused of plotting to blow up transatlantic planes was applying for a passport for his baby son at the time of his arrest, a court heard today.

Mohammed Said Ali was nine months old when his father, Abdulla Ahmed Ali, was arrested on suspicion of terrorist offences in August 2006.

A fingertip search of the family home in Walthamstow, east London, uncovered passport application documents signed by Ali on behalf of his baby.

Woolwich crown court heard earlier in the trial how a police bug allegedly captured Ali considering whether he should take his children on suicide missions.

"Should I take my lot on? I know my wife wouldn't agree to it, but..." he asked his co-defendant Umar Islam.

Prosecutor Peter Wright QC said such an act might be beyond contemplation for victims of the attack but not those behind it.

Eight men are on trial accused of attempting to smuggle liquid explosives hidden in soft drink bottles onto planes leaving from Heathrow's Terminal 3.

The prosecution says they intended to detonate the planes en route to North America, killing more than 1,500 people.

The court heard today how a cleaner found Ali's damaged passport on the pavement outside his home in August 2006.

Prosecutors claimed he threw away his passport because it contained Pakistani visas before applying for a new one.

The jury heard further evidence of extremist literature and other documents found at Ali's home.

Several books advocating jihad and martyrdom were found in a child's cot in his bedroom. Among them were The Lofty Mountain by Sheikh Abdullah Azzam and Milestones by Sayyid Qutb.

Wright said the first book inspired Osama bin Laden while the author of the second was executed for terrorist offences in Egypt.

Other items found at the flat included an audio recording of a speech by Respect MP George Galloway.

The defendants deny conspiring to murder between January 1 and August 11 2006, and conspiring to commit an act of violence likely to endanger the safety of an aircraft between the same dates.

The accused are Ali, aka Ahmed Ali Khan, 27, Islam, aka Brian Young, 29, of High Wycombe, Assad Sarwar, 27, of Walton Drive, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire; Tanvir Hussain, 27, of Nottingham Road, Leyton, east London; Mohammed Gulzar, 26, of Priory Road, Barking, east London; Ibrahim Savant, 27, of Denver Road, Stoke Newington, north London; Arafat Waheed Khan, 26, of Farnan Avenue, Walthamstow; and Waheed Zaman, 23, of Queen's Road, Walthamstow.