Britons get life for plotting al Qaeda bombing spree

Nice!!!

Britons get life for plotting al Qaeda bombing spree – Yahoo! News

LONDON (Reuters) – A judge jailed five Britons for life on Monday for plotting to carry out al Qaeda-inspired bomb attacks across Britain at targets ranging from nightclubs to trains and a shopping centre.

“The sentences are for life. Release is not a foregone conclusion. Some or all of you may never be released,” judge Michael Astill told the court.

“You are considered cruel, ruthless misfits by society.”

The gang planned to use 600 kg (1,300 lb) of ammonium nitrate fertilizer to make explosives to be used in bombings in revenge for Britain’s support for the United States in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, prosecutors said.

Court papers, which could only be detailed after the trial, showed police observing the gang had established links between them and two of four British Islamists who later carried out suicide bombings in London on July 7, 2005, killing 52 people.

Spies had seen Mohammed Sidique Khan, the suspected ringleader of the July 7 bombings, and accomplice Shehzad Tanweer with the men in the days leading up to their arrest but discounted them because they were not involved in the plot.

Opposition parties and survivors of the bombings demanded a public inquiry into the July 7 attacks in response to the news.

The government praised the police for their work.

“Five dangerous terrorists are now behind bars thanks to the hard work of our police and security services,” Home Secretary (Interior Minister) John Reid told reporters. “It’s not the first time they have averted a very serious threat to life in this country. This is an endless task, it is a continuing one.”

Counter-terrorism experts said the gang could have produced a “formidable weapon” more powerful than some of the devices used in recent devastating attacks around the world.

“It was the first time since 9/11 that British people were attempting to commit mass murder in the UK,” said one senior detective, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“The only sensible conclusion is that al Qaeda does sit behind it,” he told reporters.

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