Page last updated at 17:05 GMT, Friday, 4 April 2008 18:05 UK

'Plotters made martyrdom videos'

The accused men
All eight men deny conspiring to murder others

Several men accused of plotting to blow up passenger planes mid-air as they crossed the Atlantic made Islamic martyrdom videos, a court has heard.

Six of the eight men recorded videos justifying "revenge" attacks on non-Muslims, jurors were told.

They also researched other UK targets, including London's Canary Wharf, and contemplated taking wives and children on suicide missions, prosecutors said.

All eight men deny conspiring to murder and endangering aircraft in 2006.

Their arrests in August that year led to a ban on passengers carrying most liquids on board aircraft.

The jury at Woolwich Crown Court was played or read extracts from a number of alleged suicide videos, in which men were seen speaking in front of a black flag featuring Arabic writing.

One man, said to be defendant Umar Islam, described his plans as "revenge" for the actions of the United States and its "accomplices such as the British and the Jews".

He warned: "Martyrdom operations upon martyrdom operations will keep on raining on these kuffars [non-believers] until they release us and leave our lands."

He went on to argue British citizens were legitimate targets because they had paid taxes that funded the Army.

Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 27
Assad Sarwar, 24
Tanvir Hussain, 27
Mohammed Gulzar, 26
Ibrahim Savant, 27
Arafat Waheed Khan, 26
Waheed Zaman, 23
Umar Islam, 29

"Most of you are too busy watching Home and Away and EastEnders, complaining about the World Cup and drinking alcohol, too busy to care. I know because I come from that," he said.

Another man, described as defendant Abdulla Ahmed Ali, was heard saying: "Sheikh Osama [Bin Laden] has warned you many times to leave our lands or you will be destroyed, and now the time has come for you to be destroyed."

The man, who described himself as the leader of the group, also warned of "floods of martyr operations" against non-Muslims which would scatter "the people and your body parts and your people's body parts" which would be "decorating the streets".

A man in another recording, which the prosecution claims is Waheed Zaman, a former student who studied biomedical sciences, denied being "brainwashed" and warned: "Remember as you kill us, you will be killed. As you bomb us, you will be bombed."

And in what the jury was told was Tanvir Hussain's suicide video, a man said he wished he could "come back and do this again, and just do it again and again until people come to their senses and realise, you know, don't mess with the Muslims".

'Liquid bombs'

Peter Wright QC, prosecuting, said the recordings "were significant" because they showed the men "contemplated losing their lives in some violent act", which would be a "perceived act of martyrdom in the name of Islam".

"We suggest the tenor of these remarks leaves little room for any degree of ambiguity," he added.

Martyrdom operations upon martyrdom operations will keep on raining on these kuffars [non-believers] until they release us and leave our lands
Video recording of a man described as defendant Umar Islam

The eight men are accused of plotting to use home-made devices of liquid explosives, which would be smuggled on to aircraft and then used to blow up a number of transatlantic flights from London's Heathrow Airport.

At least seven aircraft flying to major cities across north America were the targets, the court has been told.

But the jury has also heard that computer memory sticks found at the High Wycombe home of Mr Sarwar revealed the alleged plotters also considered other UK targets.

Mr Wright said they included Canary Wharf, a gas pipeline running between Belgium and the UK, other UK airports, as well as companies that store and process hydrogen peroxide.

Another memory stick found in Mr Sarwar's garage contained information about power stations, internet service provider exchanges, oil refineries, the National Grid and UK airports, the jury was told.

'Women and children'

The court later heard how the alleged plotters stockpiled materials needed for their home-made liquid devices - including 18 litres of hydrogen peroxide, wires and syringes - which the prosecution claims they intended to smuggle on to aircraft disguised as 500ml soft drinks.

Such a sacrifice is beyond contemplation for those who are the targets but not those who participate in activities such as this
Peter Wright QC, prosecuting

Prosecutors also claim police bugging devices at a "bomb factory" in Forest Road, Walthamstow, during July and August 2006 revealed how some of the men considered taking their wives and children on the alleged mission.

The court was told that Mr Ali was overheard speaking about a train bombing and that a "brother" had "wanted to take his kid on the train with him - shake them up".

Mr Wright told the jury Mr Ali was also overheard considering taking his child but said his wife "would not agree to it" and that Mr Islam was heard saying his wife may join the plot if it was a "significant operation".

"Such a sacrifice is beyond contemplation for those who are the targets but not those who participate in activities such as this," Mr Wright said.

The defendants are Abdulla Ahmed Ali, aka Ahmed Ali Khan, 27, of Walthamstow, Assad Sarwar, 24, of High Wycombe, Tanvir Hussain, 27, of Leyton, east London, and Mohammed Gulzar, 26, of Barking. Also charged, are Ibrahim Savant, 27, of Stoke Newington, Arafat Waheed Khan, 26, of Walthamstow, Waheed Zaman, 23, of Walthamstow, and Umar Islam, aka Brian Young, 29, of Plaistow, east London.

1. 1415 UA931 LHR-SAN FRANCISCO (United Airlines)
2. 1500 AC849 LHR-TORONTO (Air Canada)
3. 1515 AC865 LHR-MONTREAL (Air Canada)
4. 1540 UA959 LHR-CHICAGO (United)
6. 1635 AA131 LHR-NEW YORK (American Airlines)
7. 1650 AA91 LHR-CHICAGO (American)

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