27 Dec 2010

Christmas ‘terror plot’ targeted London landmarks

Senior Home Affairs Correspondent

Nine men are remanded in custody accused of an alleged terror plot to blow up the London Stock Exchange and the American Embassy, and planning a series of parcel bombs directed at prominent figures.

Aged between 19 and 28, the men from Cardiff, London and Stoke-on-Trent, appeared in court today after being held by police following a series of anti-terror raids last week.

All nine have been remanded in custody accused of plotting a pre-Christmas bombing campaign in the UK and with preparing for acts of terrorism.

The charges amount to allegations of a plan to attack the London Stock Exchange, the American Embassy, a number of prominent religious and political leaders and possible restaurants, pubs and nightclubs.

The alleged plan also included a series of parcel bombs to be constructed based on instructions printed in an Al-Qaeda newsletter.

The second chage they face is of engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism between November 6 and December 20, including by downloading, researching, obtaining and discussing materials and methods; researching discussing and carrying out reconnaissance on and agreeing potential targets; travelling to and attending meetings; and igniting and testing incendiary material preparing for acts of terrorism.

All nine men were remanded in custody to appear at London’s Old Bailey on January 14, 2011.

Those charged from Cardiff are Gurukanth Desai, 28, Omar Sharif Latif, 26, and Abdul Malik Miah, 24.

Nine men due in UK court on charges of terrorism (Image: Getty)

London residents Mohammed Moksudur Rahman Chowdhury, 20, of Stanliff House and Shah Mohammed Lutfar Rahman, 28, of St Bernard’s Road, are charged.

Also charged are Stoke-on-Trent residents Nazam Hussain, 25, Usman Khan, 19, Mohibur Rahman, 26 and Abul Bosher Mohammed Shahjahan, 26.

Sue Hemming, head of the Crown Prosecution Service Counter Terrorism Division, said: “I have today advised the police that nine men should be charged with conspiracy to cause explosions and with engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism with the intention of either committing acts of terrorism, or assisting another to commit such acts.

“Lawyers from the CPS Counter Terrorism Division have been working with the police on this case from an early stage and were on hand to give advice while the men were interviewed.

“I have reviewed the evidence provided to me by the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit and I am satisfied there is sufficient for a realistic prospect of conviction, and it is in the public interest that these men should be charged with these offences.”

Last week’s raids came after several months of surveillance and monitoring by police and MI5 officers.