A former public schoolboy planned a suicide bombing after being radicalized by Islamic internet preachers.
Andrew ‘Isa’ Ibrahim, 20, was arrested just ‘a matter of hours or days’ before he was about to strike at Bristol’s biggest shopping centre. The son of Christian church-going parents converted to Islam after falling under the spell of radicals such as Abu Hamza, Omar Bakri Mohammed and the 7/7 bombers, in speeches recorded on the internet.
Ibrahim made explosives and a suicide vest in his flat and carried out extensive surveillance at Broadmead shopping centre in Bristol, where he planned to cause the maximum damage by using nails and ball bearings in his bomb. He bought the main components for the suicide bomb from high street shops, including branches of Boots.
When police entered his flat in April last year, police found between 125-245 grammes of the unstable explosive
Hexamethylene Triperoxide Diamine, also known as HMTD, in a Family Circle biscuit tin in Ibrahim’s fridge. He had also made an electrical circuit capable of detonating the explosive at short range and a half-made suicide vest, and filmed himself testing the explosives on the floor of his flat.
Ibrahim made the HMTD, the same substance used in the July 7 attacks, and suicide vest entirely through instructions from the internet. There was also a large amount of radical literature in the flat and when he was arrested the book Milestones by Sayyid Kutb was in his rucksack. The book advocated jihad and radical Islam.
Ibrahim had denied both charges but pleaded guilty to a third charge of making an explosive substance.
He told the jury he just wanted to set the explosives off and film it for the YouTube website to fill a void in his life because he was lonely and the lost sheep of his family. Mr Justice Butterfield told Ibrahim that, even though he had not made a detonation device or completed the suicide vest, his preparations for an attack were ‘advanced’. He added: ‘You are a dangerous young man, well capable of acting on the views you held in the spring of 2008.’
After the verdict the Crown Prosecution Service Counter Terrorism lawyer Moira Macmillan said: ‘The device that Ibrahim was making was viable and he had taken steps to make it even more destructive by acquiring ball bearings and airgun pellets. ‘He had identified a target. Had he carried out the attack he had been preparing, serious civilian casualties would have been inevitable.’
He watched videos made by suicide bombers repeatedly, which he had downloaded to his mobile phone, and made his vest and the HMTD. The night before his arrest last year Ibrahim had gone to his father’s house to get ball bearings to use as shrapnel. When police entered his flat, they found the vest hanging on the back of his bedroom door. Last night Det Spt Rock said: ‘He had all he needed, all he had to do was put it together.
‘It could have been a matter of hours, it could have been a matter of days, but it was going to happen soon.’
Ibrahim was only caught after members of the Al-Baseera mosque in Bristol saw injuries he suffered while testing the explosive and, concerned about his extreme views and what he may be planning, told police that a white Muslim convert was acting suspiciously. It is believed to be the first time that the Muslim community has played a central role in bringing a potential terrorist bomber to justice. (Well, it’s damn well about time!) UK DAILY MAIL
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