Thursday, April 03, 2008

The eight men and the seven transatlantic flights to blow up

Thursday, April 3, 2008
A gang of eight men wanted to blow up seven transatlantic flights with the aim of inflicting "heavy casualties", a court has heard. They planned to conceal the bombs in plastic bottles of sugary drinks. The seven highlighted flights departed daily from Heathrow's Terminal Three within two hours and 35 minutes of each other.

The seven flights were:
:: 1415 United Airlines Flight 931 to San Francisco
:: 1500 Air Canada Flight 849 to Toronto
:: 1515 Air Canada Flight 865 to Montreal
:: 1540 United Airlines Flight 959 to Chicago
:: 1620 United Airlines Flight 925 to Washington
:: 1635 American Airlines Flight 139 to New York
:: 1650 American Airlines Flight 91 to Chicago

The men wanted to inflict "heavy casualties", the court heard.
The prosecution said it believed as many as 18 men could have been involved in the plot.
Peter Wright QC said the victims of the attacks would be an "unwitting civilian population".
Woolwich Crown Court heard how homemade devices would be smuggled on to aircraft concealed in bottles of soft drinks and detonated in flight by a suicide bomber.
Mr Wright said this meant that, barring unexpected delays, the seven airliners would be "entirely at the mercy of the suicide bombers who happened to be on board with their explosive devices".

Mr Wright said there was evidence the conspirators had ambitions to bring down more than just seven aircraft.
Airlines imposed tough new limits on the amount of liquids and gels passengers can carry on to flights as a result of the alleged plot.

"The attack they contemplated was not long off," when police rounded up the men on Aug. 9-10, 2006, Wright said.
The alleged plot caused major disruption to British airports and hundreds of flights were grounded when police arrested the suspects.
All eight men, each of whom has family ties to Pakistan, are accused of conspiracy to murder and a charge of planning an act of violence likely to endanger the safety of an aircraft.
Both charges carry maximum sentences of life imprisonment.
Mr Wright alleged the men planned to inflict heavy casualties, all in the name of Islam.
He described how two of the men in the dock were watched by police as they met in Walthamstow on August 9, 2006.
He said the men and others were prepared to board the aircraft carrying their "deadly cargo" and detonate it in flight.
Police recovered a computer memory stick which contained detailed information about flights and airport security, the jury was told.
Mr Wright said the conspirators planned to use a syringe to insert the ready mixed explosive liquid into the base of the bottles.
He said the hole would then be resealed to give the appearance of a "factory sealed" bottle.
The prosecutor showed the jury a police photograph of a jar of distinctive black and red AA batteries recovered from one property.
He said the HMTD detonator would be ignited using metal wire, a small bulb or the flash from a disposal camera. He said: "The detonator explodes and that explodes the primary charge, namely the hydrogen peroxide mixture with Tang."

The eight men are: Abdulla Ahmed Ali, aka Ahmed Ali Khan, 27, of Prospect Hill, Walthamstow, east London, Assad Sarwar, 27, of Walton Drive, High Wycombe, Bucks, 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 Farnham Avenue, Walthamstow, Waheed Zaman, 23, of Queen's Road, Walthamstow and Umar Islam, aka Brian Young, 29, of Bushey Road, Plaistow, east London.
The trial was adjourned to tomorrow. (Metro)


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