[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 July 2007, 15:44 GMT 16:44 UK
Profile: Muktar Ibrahim
Four men have been convicted of a botched attempt to repeat the devastation of the 7 July attacks in London. The kingpin, or "emir", was Muktar Said Ibrahim.

Muktar Ibrahim
Born in Asmara, Eritrea, in January 1978
Arrived in UK in 1990
Lived in Stoke Newington, north London
Became British citizen 2004
Responsible for bomb-making in New Southgate flat
Detonated device on bus in east London
Arrested North Kensington, 29 July

Muktar Ibrahim was the prime mover in the conspiracy to bomb London's transport network on 21 July 2005. Questions remain about how he managed to gain the skills needed to construct the devices - and whether he co-ordinated the attacks with the 7 July suicide bombers.

He was born Muktar Said Ibrahim in Asmara in what is now Eritrea in January 1978. He grew up in Eritrea, which was fighting a war of independence against Ethiopia.

He arrived in the UK in 1990 and lived in Stoke Newington, north London. He eventually gained a British passport and worked as a market trader.

But way before he was granted citizenship - and before the plan to attack the Underground - he had a criminal record.

In June 1993 he was convicted of indecent assault as a 15-year-old. Two years later he was involved in two robberies.

A gang-related attack in Hertford led to Ibrahim being detained in Feltham Young Offenders' Institute for five years.

Released in 1998 he appeared to be trying to sort out his life. He worked in a shopping centre, in restaurants and as a market trader.


Then something changed. Muktar Ibrahim became entranced by the growing Islamist political scene in London.

21 July suspects
Arrested: Muktar Ibrahim, left, and Ramzi Mohammed

Two of the growing figures on this stage were now-jailed preacher Abu Hamza and self-styled Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed, founder of the now-banned Al Muhajiroun.

Bakri fled the UK in the wake of the 2005 attacks - but he still preaches over the internet.

Like all of the 21 July attackers, Ibrahim's history is fuzzy - but he is known to have started attending Finsbury Park Mosque to listen to Abu Hamza and, along with the others, had tapes of sermons by another preacher, Abdullah el-Faisal - recently deported after a jail sentence.

In 2003 he left Britain for Sudan - and on his return boasted that he received jihadi training, having learnt to fire rocket propelled grenades.

A key witness at the trial was a man known as Bexhill - his real name kept secret under a protection programme.

Bexhill told the jury that he had been close to many of the men. He said Ibrahim told him he was going to "do jihad" and added: "He told me that maybe I wouldn't see him again, maybe we are going to see each other in heaven."

Link to 7/7?

In late 2004 Ibrahim was charged over a confrontation as he was trying to distribute Islamic literature in Oxford Street. But he went to Pakistan before the court case could be heard.

Muktar Ibrahim on a camping expedition
Ibrahim: Pakistan trip coincided with 7/7 bombers' movements
He stayed in the country until March 2005 and travelled with two other east London men who appear not to have returned.

On their way out, they were questioned at Heathrow and found to be carrying cold weather gear and camping equipment, along with notes on dealing with ballistic injuries.

Stephen Kamlish QC, barrister for Manfu Asiedu, suggested in court that the purpose of this trip was jihadi training - and that he was in Pakistan at the same as the 7/7 bombers Mohammed Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer.

Ibrahim denied ever meeting them but Mr Kamlish asked him: "There is a question mark whether or not the only two ever-known bombs made from hydrogen peroxide are the 7/7 and 21/7 bombs.

Muktar Ibrahim being questioned by George Carter-Stephenson QC
It's perhaps a crude plan, it's perhaps an insensitive plan, but for those who actually worked it out, it was designed to achieve an end which they thought was proper and just; an end to the suffering of fellow Muslims at the [hands] of UK and US troops
George Carter-Stephenson QC, on Ibrahim's intentions

You were in Pakistan at the same time [as Khan and Tanweer]. You see the coincidence, don't you?"

Ibrahim replied: "When you say this fact, yes."

Ibrahim claimed he learnt how to build the devices from a video downloaded to a CD from a well-known Islamist website run out of London.

Despite the wealth of other material recovered from various addresses, police never found this CD.

But Ibrahim said the CD was key to his planned "hoax" because it allowed him to design the bombs to be as realistic as possible but never capable of detonating.

Ibrahim held the whole plan together. The fact it failed is, in the view of counter-terrorism officers, down to pure good fortune for his intended victims, rather than any claimed intention to scare rather than kill.

Terrorist ringleader Mukhtar Ibrahim's bomb factory

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific