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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 July 2007, 10:52 GMT 11:52 UK
Trio fuelled al-Qaeda propaganda
Three men have become the first people to be convicted in the UK of inciting terrorist murder via the internet. They helped conduct a propaganda campaign for al-Qaeda. They distributed films of beheadings and bomb-making instructions which were to be used for attacks on non-Muslims.

Frame from video seized in Bosnia

Al-Qaeda has its share of propaganda specialists who stoke up the violence with their incessant exhortations to "good Muslims" to obey the call to martyrdom and their twisted version of "jihad".

Tariq Al-Daour, Younes Tsouli and Waseem Mughal ran such an operation in the UK and were brought to justice at Woolwich Crown Court on Wednesday. They all admitted inciting terrorist murder. They also admitted conspiring to defraud banks, credit card companies and charge card companies.

They ran a series of Islamist extremist websites and also made videos in support of "jihad".

Suicide vest

When police raided Mughal's flat in Chatham, Kent in October 2005 they found a Powerpoint slideshow entitled The Illustrated Booby Trapping Course.

The defendants at Woolwich Crown Court
Younes Tsouli, 23, from Shepherds Bush, west London
Waseem Mughal, 24, from Chatham, Kent
Tariq al-Daour, 21, from Paddington, west London

It had details about constructing a suicide vest, including making the explosive charge and attaching ball bearings to act as shrapnel.

All three men wanted to be "in the trenches" fighting the British and Americans in Iraq.

In one cyber chat Tsouli, whose online nickname was Irhabi007 (Arabic for Terrorist007), told Mughal: "It sucks we are here and not there. But I suppose someone has to be here."

Mughal urged him to continue with his "media work" which was "very, very important".

'Important media work'

The "media work" involved producing and editing video clips of beheadings by insurgents in Iraq, instructions on how to make bombs and other advice for budding terrorists.

In on exchange Mughal said: "A lot of the funding that the brothers are getting is coming because of the videos. Imagine how many have gone (to Iraq) after seeing the videos. Imagine how many have become shahid (martyrs)."

Tsouli told Mughal he had been asked by "AQ" (al-Qaeda) to translate their official "e-book", known as Thurwat Al Sanam, or the Tip Of The Camel's Hump, into English.

Abu Musab Zarqawi
It led to a close affiliation with al-Qaeda in Iraq by a man known as Zarqawi (pictured) who gained notoriety for the gruesome killing of those it branded disbeliever enemies
Mark Ellison, prosecutor
Mark Ellison, prosecuting, said the three men were closely affiliated with al-Qaeda in Iraq, led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Zarqawi, who was later killed by a US air strike, was the man responsible for the beheading of British hostage Ken Bigley.

Tsouli and Mughal had Ken Bigley execution footage as well as film of US journalist Daniel Pearl being beheaded.

Mr Ellison said: "Since the coalition forces entered Iraq each of the defendants developed a particular interest in the application and promotion of ideology and the call to join it in Iraq and to some extent Afghanistan.

Al-Qaeda logo design

"It led to a close affiliation with al-Qaeda in Iraq by a man known as Zarqawi who gained notoriety for the gruesome killing of those it branded disbeliever enemies."

Tsouli reportedly helped design a logo for al-Qaeda in Iraq.

But it was not just Iraq that the trio's message was being delivered.

In October 2005 a Swedish national called Mirsad Bektasevic was arrested at a house near Sarajevo in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The authorities also found 18kg of explosives, electrical wiring, timing devices and detonators and a suicide bomber's belt loaded with explosives.

A video found at the house had been prepared by the three men and they were also in a "buddy list" on Bektasevic's computer.

'Prepared to attack'

A voice-over on the video says: "Here are the boys preparing for the attacks.

"They are showing us the stuff they are going to use for the attack. These boys are prepared to attack and Inshallah (God willing) they will attack kuffar (non-believers) who are killing our brothers and Muslims in Iraq, in Afghanistan, Chechnya and many other countries."

All three were charged under the 2000 Terrorism Act of possessing documents or records likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

Tsouli, 23, from west London, and Mughal, 24, from Kent, changed their pleas to guilty halfway through the trial but Al-Daour, 21, from west London, changed his plea to guilty on Wednesday.

Tsouli, who was born in Morocco, had been granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK only shortly before his arrest.

The three men will be sentenced on Thursday.

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