Two Londoners face jail for Isis-inspired plot to execute soldiers and police officers

From the London Evening Standard and Sky News

Two Islamic State-inspired jihadists who grew up in the same streets as Jihadi John are facing jail for plotting to execute soldiers and police officers in drive-by shootings on British streets.

It can be disclosed that the plan to attack officers and soldiers outside a police station and army barracks was both inspired and funded by Islamic State from Syria.

The attack was to be led by Tarik Hassane, a medical student known to his friends as “The Surgeon” and the son of a Saudi diplomat.

Scotland Yard Commanders have described the attack plan as a “significant step-up in complexity and ambition” compared to other recent plots, like the murder of soldier Lee Rigby in southeast London in 2013. Head of Scotland Yard’s Counter Terror Command, SO15 Commander Dean Haydon, said: “This was a very determined bunch of individuals, they were four very dangerous men.”

He said the plot represented an “elevation in complexity” adding: “This is about acquiring a moped, acquiring a firearm, silencer and ammunition and in broad daylight, targeting police officers, the military and members of the public and making good their escape. That is a real concern to me and certainly a real concern to SO15 Counter-terrorism Command. It draws parallels in a way to Paris. The attackers in this case were intent on murder, intent on using a firearm, intent on causing fear, stress, disorder in a particular part of west London.”

The plot, according to the authorities, was not to be a martyrdom operation. The attackers would open fire on an unsuspecting police officer or soldier and drive off, free to scout their next targets. It would have been a cycle of killing which could have claimed many lives.

Another plotter, student Suhaib Majeed, has now been found guilty by an Old Bailey jury of helping co-ordinate the plan in the UK. He and Hassane were childhood friends, raised in the same neighbourhood in Ladbroke Grove as infamous Isis executioner Mohammed Emwazi – better known as Jihadi John. 

Two others, Nyall Hamlett and Nathan Cuffy, were found not guilty of the main terrorism charge but have already admitted supplying the weapon and ammunition to be used in the attack.

Both men claimed they had no knowledge of the fact the weapon was to be used in a terrorist attack.

Hassane, nicknamed “The Surgeon”, was the mastermind of the attack, issuing directives to the rest of the terror cell while studying medicine at a university in Khartoum, Sudan, (having) failed to get onto a medical course at university in London. He masterminded the plot from Sudan and during brief visits back home to London, where he was pictured by undercover officers as he met with his fellow plotters. 

Hassane’s father was the Saudi Ambassador to Uzbekistan, it can be revealed, but had left him to grow up on a council estate in the Ladbroke Grove area of west London with his aunt.

Majeed was studying physics at the prestigious King’s College London and was chairman of its Islamic society. (He was) the main co-ordinator in the UK, organising, researching and acting as the communications expert.

Majeed used an encryption programme called Mujahideen Secrets on his laptop as he passed and received instructions on the ongoing plot. He was tasked with picking up the firearm, finding a moped for the drive-by and renting a lock-up to store the moped close to the target.

Hamlett, 25, the ‘middleman’ with the gun supplier, lived in the same area of west London and was friends with both Hassane and Majeed. He was able to put them in touch with the main gun supplier and the man who acted as armourer, Cuffy, 26, who was storing five handguns in his father’s council flat.

The plot is the first example of Islamist terrorists in Britain obtaining a working firearm and sources say the plan has “unnerving echoes” of the Paris plot 16 months later. It represents a “dangerous cross-over” between Islamist terrorists and the world of gangs and drug dealing which enabled them to get hold of a weapon, according to sources.

They fear that terrorists are now able to get hold of weapons that were previously out of bounds because gangland armourers did not want to be dragged into terrorism. However, the suppliers in the latest case were all converts who were still involved in drug dealing but also had a large amount of radical material on their phones and computers, including IS recruitment videos.

The plot was hatched after Hassane swore an allegiance to ISIS in July 2014, and the terror group’s spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani al-Shami issued a fatwa in September that year calling for followers to “strike their police, security and intelligence members, as well as their treacherous agents”. “The issuing of the fatwa endorsed what Hassane was planning to do”, said Commander Haydon.

It is believed Hassane and Majeed “self-radicalised” using a massive cache of extremist documents, videos of beheadings, ISIS propaganda tapes, and chats using heavily encrypted software between themselves and others in Syria. 

Mr Justice Wilkie remanded all four defendants in custody until a sentencing hearing on a date in April yet to be set.



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