The 11-strong al-Qaeda inspired gang from Birmingham wanted to use eight suicide bombers in attacks that could have left thousands dead. The ringleader, Irfan Naseer, 31, was given five life sentences. A judge said he may never be released, however, his followers were treated very leniently.
UK Daily Mail Naseer’s group wanted to cause more damage than the 7/7 London bombings and threatened to carry out “another 9/11.”
A judge said their plans had been ‘at the far end of extreme’ and that they had been determined to carry out ‘mass murder’ to ‘further the aims of Al Qaeda’. But one could walk free in less than nine years despite having volunteered to strap on an explosive rucksack and detonate it in a crowded place.
The sentence contrasts with those of other major plots in which Al Qaeda-inspired terrorists were jailed for a minimum of 40 years. It means the three men are likely to return to the neighbourhoods they wanted to destroy before they are even middle aged.
GANG OF 11 JAILED FOR 90 YEARS TOTAL
Irfan Naseer LIFE (18 YEARS MIN)
Irfan Khalid 18 YEARS
Ashik Ali 15 YEARS
Rahin Ahmed 12 YEARS
Bahader Ali 6 YEARS
Mohammed Rizwan 4 YEARS
Mujahid Hussain 4 YEARS
Shaaq Hussain 3 YEARS 4 MONTHS
Khobaib Hussain 3 YEARS 4 MONTHS
Shahid Khan 3 YEARS 4 MONTHS
Naweed Ali 3 YEARS 4 MONTHS
The security services said the Birmingham cell was responsible for the most serious terrorist conspiracy since the failed airline liquid bomb plot in 2006.
Naseer, 28, and Irfan Khalid, 31, travelled to Pakistan where they trained alongside Al Qaeda and learned how to make homemade explosives. During their stay the pair recorded martyrdom videos to be released after their deaths in which they praised hate preacher Abu Qatada.
Naseer and Khalid told others they were working for the ‘Al Qaeda number five’ and had been sent back to Europe to spread their deadly new skills.
The trio recruited eight followers, four of whom were sent to a Pakistani terror camp as others posed as bogus charity collectors to raise cash. But the plot was smashed in a series of police raids that followed a multi-million-pound surveillance operation in September 2011.