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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 November 2007, 15:40 GMT
Bombings 'shocked' terror accused
Mohammed Hamid
Mohammed Hamid: Denies charges
A man accused of organising terrorist training camps has said he could not believe friends were behind the failed London bomb attacks in July 2005.

Mohammed Hamid of east London said he was shocked when people who had joined his camps were named as the bombers.

Mr Hamid and four others are on trial at Woolwich Crown Court over the alleged camps from 2004 to 2006.

But giving evidence, Mr Hamid said trips to the Lake District attended by the 21/7 bombers were bonding sessions.

Mr Hamid, 50, said that he had a life-long interest in camping and the outdoors - and the camping sessions to the New Forest, Lake District and abroad were simply a way for him to get away with close Muslim friends.

But Mr Hamid said that since the 9/11 attacks on the United States, Muslims had felt under threat in British society - and that he organised camps and discussion circles to help scores of young men understand current affairs.

The prosecution alleges the camps were organised by Mr Hamid and a close associate, Atilla Ahmet, to promote terrorism and radicalise impressionable young men. Ahmet has pleaded guilty to three counts of soliciting to murder in a separate but related trial.

21/7 attackers

Among those who attended camps in 2004 were the four men responsible for the failed London suicide bomb attacks of 21 July 2005, the court heard.

"I could not believe it," Mr Hamid told the court. "I could not believe they would do such an act."

Joel Bennathan QC, for Mr Hamid, asked him why he could not believe the four were responsible.

Mohammed Hamid (above) is charged under the Terrorism Act 2006 with providing weapons and terrorist training. He faces additional charges of soliciting murder
Mousa Brown is accused of receiving weapons training
Kibley da Costa is charged under the Terrorism Act 2006 with providing terrorist training and with attending terrorist training camps
Mohammed Al-Figari is charged under the Terrorism Act 2006 with attending terrorist training camps
Kader Ahmed is charged under the Terrorism Act 2006 with attending terrorist training camps

"It's like if you know someone, why would he want to kill himself and other people?"

The court had previously heard that Mr Hamid had texted Hussein Osman, one of the four 21/7 attackers, within hours of the successful bombings of 7 July. The text told Osman to fear none but Allah and "we will not change our ways".

But Mr Hamid said he texted Osman because he feared there would be trouble ahead for innocent Muslims.

Training camps

Mr Hamid described the camps as opportunities for Muslims to get out into the countryside.

Claims that he organised military-formation running in the Lake District were, in fact, a silly competition to see who could reach a football pitch, he told the court.

The jury also saw footage of one trip to Morocco in which Mr Hamid and other defendants were laughing and joking as they ran up and down hillsides.

In one clip, a co-defendant is heard comparing the terrain to the Tora Bora caves used by al- Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Mr Hamid said that he did not believe Muslims could be behind the 9/11 attacks on the United States or the 7 July 2005 London suicide bombings. He said he believed that Muslims who committed suicide would find themselves in "hellfire".

The case continues.

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