Two more homegrown terrorists lifed off for plotting an attack against innocent people on British soil. How much longer can the government and Muslim apologists keep up the charade that these jihadists are not representative of British Muslims when the amount getting caught suggests otherwise
LONDON—A British couple who plotted Islamic State-inspired suicide bomb attacks against targets including a popular London shopping mall and the city’s subway system were both handed life sentences on Wednesday.
Mohammed Rehman, 25, will spend at least 27 years behind bars, while his wife, Sana Ahmed Khan, 24, will serve a minimum of 25 years in prison, judge Jeremy Baker ruled in a short hearing at the Old Bailey.
Mr. Rehman, from Reading, west of London, and Ms. Ahmed Khan, from the nearby town of Wokingham, were Tuesday convicted of preparing terrorist acts. Mr. Rehman was also convicted of an additional charge of possessing an article for terrorist purposes.
The couple assiduously set about constructing explosives capable of causing mass casualties and were on the brink of executing their plans when specialist counterterrorism police arrested them in late May, police and prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said Mr. Rehman and Ms. Ahmed Khan intended to time their attacks to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the July 7, 2005, suicide bombings on the London transportation system that killed 52 people and injured hundreds more.
“The pair had been very close to carrying out an attack, all they required was to purchase the chemicals to make a detonator,” said Susan Hemming, head of the Crown Prosecution Service’s counterterrorism division after the guilty verdicts were delivered on Tuesday.
The husband and wife, who married in secret in 2013 and lived separately, had been under surveillance after police noticed a series of social-media posts by Mr. Rehman that made clear his intention to carry out violence in the name of radical Islam. Using theTwitter alias “Silent Bomber” in an account featuring images of Islamic State executions, Mr. Rehman called on his Twitter followers to vote on possible targets in the capital.
In one tweet, Mr. Rehman wrote: “Westfield shopping centre or London underground? Any advice would be appreciated greatly.”
Mr. Rehman stockpiled fertilizer and carried out minor test blasts in his garden, the court heard. Police who raided Mr. Rehman’s Reading home found more than 10 kilograms of highly explosive urea nitrate, which prosecutors said would have caused “multiple fatalities” if detonated in the tight confines of a subway train or station. They had also considered bombing the Westfield Shopping Centre, prosecutors said.
“There is little doubt that, had Rehman and Ahmed Khan not been stopped when they were, they would have attempted to carry out an act of terrorism in London,” said Ms. Hemming said.
During the six-week trial, jurors heard how Ms. Ahmed Khan helped her husband by taking out loans and depositing nearly $21,000 into his bank account for the purchase of explosive chemicals. Prosecutors said Ms. Ahmed Khan was a “supporter of violent and extreme Islamic ideology” who played a key role motivating her husband.
The pair shared Islamic State video clips, which police and prosecutors said was proof of their radicalization and malign intent.
The two defendants denied the charges. In an interview with police presented in court as evidence, Mr. Rehman admitted manufacturing explosives but said it wasn’t with the intention of hurting anyone. His wife, Ms. Ahmed Khan, refused to answer questions from police and denied any knowledge of his social media posts.
Speaking after the sentencing on Wednesday, the police officer who led the unit that tracked Mr. Rehman and his wife welcomed the court’s decision.
“It was clear that Rehman and Khan shared a radical and violent extremist ideology,” saidLaura Nicholson, the head of the South East Counter Terrorism Unit. “They actively accessed extremist material on the Internet and used social media to develop and share their views as they prepared acts of terrorism. The sentences at court here today reflect this and the threat they posed with their actions,” Ms. Nicholson said.