From Sky News
A man who plotted a knife attack on MPs and police in Westminster has been handed three life sentences. Khalid Ali, 28, was arrested in Parliament Square last April by armed police who found him in possession of three knives.
Police had been watching Ali since he returned from Afghanistan where he had spent five years making bombs for the Taliban which were used to maim and kill coalition troops. In late 2016, Ali's DNA and fingerprints were shared with the FBI agents and the 42 prints linked him to two loads of IEDs found in Afghanistan in 2012. In the meantime, he vowed to carry out an attack on Westminster to "send a message" to British authorities, the court heard.
On 18 March, he carried out reconnaissance while claiming to be taking part in a Stand Up To Racism march, which took him past Downing Street and the Cenotaph.
He left his mother's home and went to Ealing where he rearmed himself with an eight-inch chef's knife and two three-and-a-half-inch paring blades from Wilko. He also bought kitchen utensils including a potato masher as cover and purchased a rucksack with a Union flag and London logo on it. Ali then travelled on the Underground to carry out his attack, just four weeks after the Westminster Bridge killings.
He deliberately dropped his mobile phone into the Thames, which police divers recovered. Ali told officers in a police interview he wanted to deliver a "message" to British authorities but he said the knives were for protection.
He admitted involvement in IEDs in Afghanistan and bragged that he had detonated more than 300 devices.
After being tried at the Old Bailey in June, Ali was convicted of preparing terrorist acts in Britain and two charges of possessing explosive substances with intent abroad.
Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC sentenced Ali to a minimum of 40 years for making IEDs for the Taliban in 2012. He was also handed a 25-year sentence for the Westminster plot designed to attract "maximum publicity and instil terror".
The judge said: "I have no doubt whatsoever that there is a very considerable risk of your committing offences of violence in the future and cause death or serious injury as a result. I'm sure your plan was to attack and kill someone in central London. Your preparations were complete and you very simply had to identify your precise target and his or her death was very likely to be caused by a knife attack. You would kill any police officer you could."
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