Six go on trial over suicide attack plot
AN extremist Muslim plot to kill innocent commuters in a series of murderous suicide bombings only failed at the last moment because of problems with the explosive mixture, hot weather or mere "good fortune", a court heard.
A six-strong terrorist cell, several of whom had attended sermons by the radical Islamic preacher Abu Hamza, allegedly planned to carry out synchronised bombings on the London transport network two weeks after the deadly July 7 terror attacks.
A jury today heard further details of the alleged plot to kill innocent commuters in a series of suicide bombings.
At the opening of their trial at Woolwich Crown Court today, it was disclosed that five of the six men had been under surveillance by police during a camping trip to the Lake District almost 15 months before their alleged attempt to bomb three Tube trains and a bus.
Less than a year later, the six men began formulating a plan to detonate rucksack bombs on London's public transport system, the court was told. By late April 2005, they had started buying the first of the necessary components for their home-made explosive devices, it was alleged.
A one-bedroom flat in Curtis House, New Southgate, north London, was selected as the "bomb factory".
Prosecuting counsel Nigel Sweeney QC said the alleged conspiracy had been in existence long before the carnage of July 7 and was not some hastily arranged copycat action.
One of the five bombers lost his nerve at the last moment and dumped his rucksack device in woodland, but the other four tried to detonate their bombs as planned, the jury heard.
When they failed to explode, the bombers fled in the midst of the ensuing panic and confusion, sparking a massive police manhunt.
One fled London disguised as a Muslim woman in a burka before being arrested in a bath in Birmingham, while another fled to Rome via Paris before his capture, the prosecution said.
The latter would claim in interview that the plot was not a serious attempt to kill commuters, but "a deliberate hoax in order to make a political point".
However, Mr Sweeney told the jury: "The prosecution case is that this was no hoax.
"Whether it was problems with the manufacture at Curtis House, with the composition of the mixtures, with the hot weather on July 21 affecting the chemicals, we say the failure of those bombs to explode owed nothing to the intentions of these defendants - rather it was simply the good fortune of the travelling public that day that they were spared."
The six men all deny charges of conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to cause explosions likely to endanger life.
They are: Muktar Said Ibrahim, 28, from Stoke Newington, north London; Ramzi Mohammed, 25, from North Kensington, west London; Yassin Omar, 26, from New Southgate, north London; Hussain Osman, 28, of no fixed address; Manfo Kwaku Asiedu, 33, of no fixed address; and Adel Yahya, 24, of High Road, Tottenham.
Ibrahim, Asiedu, Osman, Omar and Mohammed were to be the would-be suicide bombers, Mr Sweeney said.
Yahya took part in some of the essential preparation done in furtherance of the conspiracy, but left the country nearly six weeks before July 21 and did not return until afterwards.
All five of the alleged would-be suicide bombers met at Mohammed's flat in Delgarno Gardens in North Kensington the night before the attack.
Between 12.30pm and just after 1pm that afternoon, all four attempted to detonate their bombs; Osman on a Tube train at Shepherd's Bush, Ramzi on a Tube train near Oval, Omar on a Tube train near Warren Street station and Ibrahim on a Number 26 bus in Hackney Road, east of the City.
Asiedu meanwhile had lost his nerve and dumped his rucksack in Little Wormwood Scrubs, it was alleged.
The case continues.