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Last Updated: Friday, 15 September 2006, 16:48 GMT 17:48 UK
'Parliament bomb plot just talk'
Omar Khyam (pic: John Connor Press Associates)
Omar Khyam allegedly proposed pubs and nightclubs as targets
A British man accused of involvement in a fertiliser bomb plot has denied to an Old Bailey jury he intended to blow up MPs in the Houses of Parliament.

Omar Khyam, 24, from West Sussex, said he had talked about dropping a bomb during prime minister's questions.

But he said it was "just talk" and that there was no plan to carry it out.

He was responding to claims by Mohammed Babar, a prosecution witness and alleged accomplice, that Mr Khyam was keen to carry out operations in the UK.

Mr Khyam is the first of the seven people on trial to give evidence.

He said while watching television in Pakistan in 2003 he had chatted about bombing the US and the UK.

But he said it was not a serious discussion, rather a response to items in the news.

He said: "I remember I was watching prime minister's questions on television. I said 'Imagine if you dropped a bomb right there and then, you would take out all the MPs'."

He said it was not a serious proposition or a plan he had been working on.

Training denials

Mr Khyam, who is from Crawley, has told the court he wanted to see foreign troops leave Afghanistan.

He denied being trained in explosives or poisons during a trip to Pakistan. But he said he had met people who could have been described as al-Qaeda.

He also denied having explosives training in Pakistan or watching experiments with bombs.

Mr Khyam said he brought 10 sachets of aluminium powder to the UK after an uncle asked him for aluminium paint.

He had placed it in a garden shed and thought his mother must have put it in a biscuit tin and in plastic bags because it was leaking.

The powder, which the prosecution say would have been used as a component of an explosive, was probably placed by her outside the shed where it was found by police, he said.

Later, Mr Khyam told the jury said he turned to fraud as a means of funding "the cause".

He had earlier described "the cause" as "the freedom of Muslim lands from occupation".

He said one practice involved the selling of building supplies and also described how he applied for a 16,000 bank loan which he did not intend to repay.

He said four other men who were accompanying him on a trip were doing similar things.

'Weapons training'

Mr Khyam and six others are accused of plotting with a Canadian to cause explosions.

Six of the defendants were arrested in March 2004 when fertiliser was found stored in a west London depot.

It is alleged they had al-Qaeda links and discussed bombing targets including pubs, nightclubs and the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent between 1 January 2001 and 31 March 2004.

Mr Khyam, his younger brother Shujah-Ud-Din Mahmood, 18, and Waheed Mahmood, 33, from Crawley, West Sussex, along with Jawad Akbar, 22, from Crawley and Uxbridge, Anthony Garcia, 27, from Ilford, east London, Nabeel Hussain, 20, from Horley, Surrey, and Salahuddin Amin, 30, from Luton, Bedfordshire, deny conspiring to cause an explosion likely to endanger life contrary to section 3 (1)(a) of the Explosive Substances Act 1883.

Mr Khyam, who has also lived in Slough, Mr Garcia and Mr Hussain deny a charge under the Terrorism Act 2000 of possessing an article for terrorism - namely 600kg of ammonium nitrate fertiliser between 5 November, 2003 and 31 March, 2004.

Brothers Mr Khyam and Mr Mahmood deny having aluminium powder, which is an ingredient in explosives, between the said dates.

The trial was adjourned until Monday.

CCTV footage of the suspect at a storage depot

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