A terrorist gang who met in prison and called themselves the ‘Three Musketeers’ hatched a plot to bring carnage to the streets of Britain with a pipe bomb, meat cleaver and a Samurai sword.
Naweed Ali, 29, Khobaib Hussain, 25 and Mohibur Rahman, 33, had all been locked up for terrorism offences when they met and began plotting a London Bridge-style atrocity after their release.
But the trio from the West Midlands were caught with their weapons and an imitation handgun when MI5 set up a fake courier firm to employ them in an elaborate and controversial sting operation.
The Islamic fanatics, who joked that they were like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy in the Disney Musketeers movie, and used a cartoon image as their logo on encrypted messages on the Telegram app, were thought to be just days away from carrying out a knife and bomb rampage when undercover officers stopped them.
Text messages not seen by the jury show Mohibur Rahman, 33, and Tahir Aziz, 38, travelled to see the radical cleric on May 8 last year as the group were plotting a knife and pipe bomb atrocity.
Choudary, leader of banned group Al Muhajiroun was awaiting trial for inviting support for IS. He was later convicted and jailed. As part of his bail conditions, he was banned from contacting a list of extremists, and he was later remanded into custody when it emerged he had seen Rahman.
On Ali’s first day working for MI5’s fake courier firm, officers found in his car a JD #Sports bag in the footwell containing a partially constructed pipe bomb, imitation handgun, 11 shotgun cartridges, a bullet and a meat cleaver with Kafir – which means infidel – scratched on the blade.
A fourth plotter, Tahir Aziz, 38, was subsequently arrested with a Samurai sword in his car. He had bought the weapon from a sex shop days after joining what was said to be an ‘imminent’ plot to target police or MI5.
The so-called Musketeers even went to meet the extremist cleric while he was on bail awaiting trial for inviting support for Islamic State, as they were formulating their attack. Their extraordinary trial at the Old Bailey, part of which was kept secret for national security reasons, has raised questions about the growing menace of Islamist extremism inside British prisons.
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