Terrorisme og ekstremisme

Planla nytt 9/11 i Storbritannia

En gruppe inspirert av al-Qaida hadde konkrete planer om å utføre et nytt 9/11 på britisk jord. Hele åtte selvmordsbombere fra en jihadgruppe i Birmingham var beredt til å utføre et massivt angrep, som ville vært mer ødeleggende enn 7/7-angrepet i London. Dette kommer frem samtidig som trusselnivået i Norge ser ut til å være på det høyeste.

Stadig avdekkes konkrete terrorplaner i Europa, samtidig som det er kjent at i Norge har PST rundt 40 potensielle terrorister under radaren. Vi har flere ganger uttrykt bekymring for om PST har kontroll: har sikkerhetstjenesten nok ressurser? Etter at vi nå vet at Stortingets utvidede utenriks- og forsvarskomité nylig er informert ganske detaljrikt om terrorsituasjonen, med både justisminister, forsvarsminister, e-tjenesten og Nasjonal Sikkerhetsmyndighets tilstedeværelse, øker vår bekymring. Tanken som snek seg frem var denne: søker regjeringen ryggdekning dersom det utføres et terrorangrep på norsk jord? Vi hadde informert Stortinget om trusselsituasjonen.

Situasjonen som tegner seg på de britiske øyene eser dog ut til å være langt mer dramatisk. Det pågår i disse dager en rettssak i Birmingham, som vi omtalte da jihadistgruppen ble arrestert for å ha planlagt massedrap av egne landsmenn

Flere skal ha vært på terrortrening i Pakistan, de skal også ha prøvd å rekruttere andre til å begå terror, lært dem å lage bomber, og de skal ha samlet inn penger til terrorvirksomheten under dekke av veldedig formål. At de arresterte skal ha ment alvor med terrorplanene, bevitnes av en martyrfilm som er produsert, forteller Telegraph

A Jihadist group from Birmingham were to target crowded areas to cause “mass death” in a terror plot that was set to be even more devastating than the 7/7 London bombings, Woolwich Crown Court was told.

Two of the alleged ringleaders had received terror training in Pakistan and made martyrdom videos to be released after they had “blown themselves up”.

They were taught in bomb-making, how to use weapons and poisons before returning to the UK to recruit others for their plot.

That included arranging for others to be sent to Pakistan for training as well.

They planned to detonate homemade bombs in up to eight rucksacks and may also have blown others up with bombs on timers.

In order to raise funds for their terrorist activities, the gang organised bogus street collections in busy areas of Birmingham for the charity Muslim Aid and for a local Islamic school, partly during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the court heard.

The “vast majority” of the money never reached the good causes for which it was intended. More than £13,500 was banked, but Muslim Aid received only £1,500 and the school just £900.

The group’s alleged chief fundraiser, Rahin Ahmed, 28, tried to generate more funds by investing the money in the capital markets, but lost over £9,000 through incompetent trading.

Brian Altman QC, prosecuting, said: “The stark fact is that the defendants and those they employed to raise funds with them were despicably stealing from their own community money donated to charity.”

The details emerged as the trial began today of three men described by the prosecution as “the senior members of this home-grown terror cell”.

Irfan Naseer, 31, Irfan Khalid, 27, and Ashik Ali, 27, all unemployed from Birmingham, all deny a number of terror charges including planning a bombing campaign, recruiting others for terrorism and terrorism fundraising.

They were among a total of 11 men and one woman arrested by police on various terrorism charges last September.

Mr Altman told the jury of six men and six women: “In September 2011, and after, officers of the West Midlands Counter-Terrorism Unit arrested a number of young men from the Birmingham area, who are resident in this country.

“With it the police successfully disrupted a plan to commit an act or acts of terrorism on a scale potentially greater than the London bombings in July 2005, if it had been allowed to runs its course.

“Although the finer details had not been worked out and agreed upon, the defendants were proposing to detonate up to eight rucksack bombs in a suicide attack and/or detonate bombs on timers in crowded areas in order to cause mass deaths and casualties.

“As you will hear, one of them was even to describe their plan as ‘another 9/11’.”

He added: “The defendants are jihadists – extremists, influenced, in particular, but not exclusively, by the lectures and writings of Anwar Al-Awlaki, a US born extremist of Yemeni descent, and an affiliate of Al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula.”

Awlaki was killed by a drone attack just 12 days after the three men were arrested.

Mr Altman said: “Each of the defendants made the deliberate decision to become a terrorist, following, what they believed to be, the right path dictated by their extreme religious and ideological beliefs.”

The three men are accused of attempting to produce home-made bombs in Ashik Ali’s one-bedroom council flat at 23 White Street in the Sparkbrook area of Birmingham.

Naseer, nicknamed “Chubbs” or “Big Irfan” because of his large size, was a trained chemist who had completed a four-year pharmacy degree at Aston University.

Mr Altman said: “The degree was beneficial to this terror cell as it was Naseer’s knowledge of chemistry, together with his training in terrorism, that allowed the defendants to experiment in producing an explosive mix with a view to constructing a home-made explosive device, an IED, in the kitchen of 23 White Street, in the days leading up to the arrest of these defendants and others.”

Khalid, who was known as “Little Irfan” to distinguish him from Naseer, or “Sylvester”, had apparently worked as a security officer in the past.

Ashik Ali, who is visually impaired, claimed in police interview that he had moved into the White Street flat after separating from his wife.

However, evidence from bugged conversations suggests he had in fact cut himself off from his family in pursuit of his “extreme” beliefs in jihad, the jury was told.

The court heard that four other men, Naweed Ali, 24, Ishaaq Hussain, 20, Khobaib Hussain, 20, and Shahid Khan, 20, have pleaded guilty to engaging in conduct in preparation for terrorism by travelling to Pakistan in August last year for terrorist training.

Three of the young men came back to Britain within days after the family of one of them discovered where they had gone and arranged for their return. The fourth apparently stayed on in Pakistan with family until October.

Ahmed, the fundraiser for the terror cell, has admitted preparing for terrorism by collecting money and investing it for terrorist acts, and by assisting others to travel to Pakistan for terrorist training.