Page last updated at 19:11 GMT, Monday, 8 September 2008 20:11 UK

Three guilty of bomb conspiracy

Tanvir Hussain, Abdulla Ahmed Ali and Assad Sarwar
Tanvir Hussain, Abdulla Ahmed Ali and Assad Sarwar were found guilty

Three men have been found guilty of a massive terrorist conspiracy to murder involving home-made bombs.

Abdulla Ahmed Ali, Assad Sarwar and Tanvir Hussain's convictions follow a huge terrorism inquiry, which led to sweeping airport restrictions.

The three, and a further five men, were not convicted on charges of plotting to bomb transatlantic airliners.

Seven men admitted plotting to cause a public nuisance. An eighth man was cleared at Woolwich Crown Court.

'Inspired by al-Qaeda'

The group had been accused of plotting to bring down transatlantic airliners with home-made liquid explosives disguised as soft drinks.

Conspiracy to murder:
Abdulla Ahmed Ali
Assad Sarwar
Tanvir Hussain
One man not guilty
No verdicts on four others

But after more than 50 hours of deliberations, the jury did not find any of the defendants guilty of conspiring to target aircraft.

The jury was unable to reach verdicts on charges relating to the alleged plot to blow up aircraft in respect of Ali, Sarwar and Hussein.

And jurors were unable to reach verdicts on those charges or conspiracy to murder charges against Ibrahim Savant, 27, of Stoke Newington, Umar Islam, 30, of Plaistow, and Waheed Zaman, 24, and Arafat Waheed Khan, 27, both of Walthamstow, all London.

Mohammad Gulzar, 27, of Barking, east London, was found not guilty on both counts.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said the police and security services had saved "countless" lives by disrupting the group.

The court heard prosecutors allege that the eight men were planning to carry liquid explosives on to planes at Heathrow, knowing the devices would evade airport security checks.

Police said the plot had been inspired by al-Qaeda in Pakistan - and the August 2006 arrests caused chaos at airports throughout the country.

The court heard that the alleged plot could have caused unprecedented casualties, with a global political impact similar to the 9/11 attacks on the United States.

Jacqui Smith welcomes the verdict

But in their defence, the seven men who had recorded videos denouncing Western foreign policy said they had only planned to cause a political spectacle and not to kill anyone at all.

The ringleader, Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 27, of Walthamstow, east London, created home-made liquid explosives in a flat which prosecutors said were designed to evade airport security.

He and five of the others - Savant, Islam, Zaman, Hussain and Khan - had recorded what the prosecution alleged were "martyrdom videos" denouncing the West and urging Muslims to fight.

Prosecutors said the bombers would then have completed and detonated the devices during their flights once all the targeted planes had taken off.

'Political spectacle'

Sarwar, 28, of High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, was said in court to be the quartermaster of the plot, buying supplies needed to make the bombs.

Prosecutors said that Mr Gulzar had flown into the country to oversee the plot's final stages - something he vehemently denied during the trial.

The plot came to light after the largest ever surveillance operation involving officers from both MI5, the Metropolitan Police and other forces around the country.

Ali, Sarwar and Hussain told the jury they had wanted to create a political spectacle in protest over foreign policy. It would have included fake suicide videos and devices that would frighten rather than kill the public.

Ali, Sarwar and Hussain, along with Savant, Islam, Khan, and Zaman, also admitted conspiring to cause a public nuisance by making videos threatening bombings.

'Considering retrial'

The home secretary said: "I am indebted to the police and security services who, by successfully disrupting this group, have saved countless lives.

"I would also thank the Crown Prosecution Service which has worked tirelessly to ensure that these individuals have been brought to justice.

"I am sure they will now consider what to do where no verdict was reached."

The Crown Prosecution Service said the case "is still the subject of ongoing proceedings, and the prosecution is considering a request for a retrial in respect of the plot to blow up airliners against all seven men upon which the jury could not agree."

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