Attack of 'global proportions' averted
The trio convicted intended to bring down seven aircraft in a short space of time, indiscriminately killing hundreds of innocent people, perhaps more if they had succeeded in activating their devices whilst over cities, prosecutors said.
London -- The three men convicted of plotting to bring down transatlantic airliners in 2006 planned a "terrorist event of global proportions," British prosecutors said Monday.
Ringleader Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 28, along with Tanvir Hussain, 28, and Assad Sarwar, 29, were found guilty of conspiring to murder thousands in the plot, which in theory could have killed more people than the 9/11 attacks in 2001 in the United States.
The trio "intended to bring down seven aircraft in a short space of time, indiscriminately killing hundreds of innocent people, perhaps more if they had succeeded in activating their devices whilst over cities," said the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
"This was a calculated and sophisticated plot to create a terrorist event of global proportions and the jury concluded that (Abdulla Ahmed) Ali, (Assad) Sarwar and (Tanvir) Hussain knew what the target was," added a CPS statement.
Explaining how the plotters planned to smuggle explosives on board, it said: "The men set up a bomb factory to make devices using soft drinks bottles. They emptied bottles and intended to refill them with explosives."
"Detonators were being assembled using batteries and the men intended to explode the devices whilst in the air," the CPS said, adding that other evidence included notes by Ali on how to avoid the suspicion of airport security.
Details of flights to the US and Canada were found in the documents and on a USB memory stick.
"Some of the men also recorded so-called martyrdom videos that feature chilling threats to the West of waves of terrorist attacks and suggested justification for their terrorism," it said.
"There can, of course, be no legitimate reason for planning and carrying out such acts."
The three convicted men's defence was that they "intended merely to set off small explosions in order to bring attention to their cause and that the videos were intended to be used as part of a documentary only," the CPS said.
"We rejected these pleas as inadequate in reflecting the evidence in the case and the level of criminality displayed by the defendants.
"The jury has also decided with these verdicts that they were guilty of much more serious offences and we thank them for the attention to the case."
The CPS also said it was considering whether to apply for a second retrial on Ibrahim Savant, 28, Arafat Waheed Khan, 27, and Waheed Zaman, 24, on whom the jurors could not agree a verdict.