A delivery driver has been found guilty of preparing to carry out a terror attack against American troops near an RAF base in Britain.
Police believe 25-year-old Junead Khan from Luton planned to stage a car crash, target US military personnel with a knife and then blow himself up.
He allegedly came up with the scheme after driving past RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk, RAF Feltwell in Norfolk, and RAF Alconbury and RAF Molesworth in Cambridgeshire. The centres in East Anglia have many US airmen based there.
Mobile phone pictures of Khan in his bedroom with an Islamic State-style black flag were discovered by police after they arrested him last July. Officers later found the flag in the attic, while an al Qaeda bomb manual and Amazon searches for a large combat knife were on his computer.
Detectives later found he had been exchanging chilling online messages with an Islamic State fighter in Syria calling himself Abu Hussain, including describing attacking military personnel after faking a road accident. Prosecutors claimed Hussain was Kings Heath hacker Junaid Hussain, who was killed in a US drone strike in the IS stronghold of Raqqa in August 2015. The trial heard that in an encrypted conversation with Hussain, Khan talked about faking a road accident before getting out to attack people directly, and carrying a bomb.
Hussain messaged him: “I can get you addresses but of British soldiers” to which Khan replied “that could also be possible”.
Hussain added: “Most soldiers live in bases which are protected. I suppose on the road is the best idea. Or if you want I can tell u how to make a bomb.”
Khan then told Hussain: “When I saw these us (sic) soldiers on road it looked simple but I had nothing on me or wouldve (sic) got into an accident with them and made them get out the car.”
Hussain replied: “That’s what the brother done with Lee Rigby.”
He went on to say he would send Junead Khan a manual for making a “pressure cooker bomb”, adding: “It’s best to have at least pipe bombs or pressure cooker bomb in a backpack in case something happens – so you can do isthishadi bomb in case they try arrest you.”
Commander Dean Haydon, the head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command, said he “posed a real risk to public safety. . . He’d undertaken research and planning to make a pressure cooker bomb. And, what we think is, either before or during the attack, if he’d been compromised in any way he was going to detonate that device and commit suicide.”
He was convicted, alongside his 23-year-old uncle Shazib Khan, of preparing to go to Syria to join IS.
Junead Khan, 25, and his uncle Shazib Khan, 23, mocked the Prevent programme after a police officer visited Junead’s Luton home in 2014, their trial heard.
The pair, who were close and referred to themselves as “cousins” because of their age, were on government’s anti-terror radar. (They) used the WhatsApp instant messenger to discuss the May 14 visit from Bedfordshire Police, in which an officer left a card asking for Junead to call him.
Junead wrote to Shazib: “They trying to stop me from becoming a (sic) extremist or terrorist. Lool. Left a card. They want me to call them on Monday.” Shazib replied “that crack me up” before quoting lyrics to a rap from jihadi satire film Four Lions about being a “mujahideen”.
Judge Mr Justice Edis remanded the men in custody ahead of sentencing on May 13