Page last updated at 11:48 GMT, Thursday, 10 December 2009

Briton guilty of plotting 'deadly terror attack'

From left: Adam Khatib, Nabeel Hussain, Shamin Uddin
The three men have been found guilty of terror charges

A British Muslim has been convicted of conspiring to murder civilians in a "deadly terrorist attack".

Adam Khatib, 23, a factory worker from Walthamstow, east London, was part of a terror cell run from Pakistan.

The cell was led by Abdullah Ahmed Ali, convicted of plotting to blow up transatlantic passenger airliners.

Co-defendant Nabeel Hussain was found guilty of engaging in preparing terror acts and Shamin Uddin was convicted of possessing terror items, namely a CD.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner John McDowall, head of the Metropolitan Police's counter terrorism command, said Khatib was a "footsoldier to Abdullah Ahmed Ali".

Uddin, 39, of Stoke Newington, north London, was also charged with engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts but cleared by the court.

Hussain, 25, of Chingford, east London, was found guilty of preparing for terrorism by meeting Ali twice in July 2006.

An e-mail to Khatib was used as evidence in court

He was also found guilty of possessing several items, namely a will, mobile phones and a £25,000 loan application, for use in terrorism.

Khatib was convicted by a majority of 11 jurors to one following an eight-week trial at Woolwich Crown Court in London.

Mr Justice Calvert-Smith adjourned sentencing until Thursday.

Khatib, who was a teenager when he was arrested, was a "loyal partner and servant" to Ali, travelling with him to Pakistan.

Teenage outbursts

Prosecutor Peter Wright QC said: "Khatib may not have been informed of the ultimate target, namely passenger aircraft... all that was required of him was an agreement to play his part in bringing about the murder of others."

The court heard that Khatib had became fascinated by radical Islam as a teenager.

Just keep out of trouble cos we are nearly there... I am having doubts about ur love
E-mail to Khatib

Signing one of his school assignments "Adam Osama Bin Laden," Khatib became a cause for concern to teachers worried about his increasingly extreme views, including anti-Semitic outbursts in the classroom.

After leaving school he befriended Ali, who is six years older. Ali egged on his younger charge and in June 2005 he took him to Pakistan.

Khatib, who has a Mauritian father and British mother, told the court he was curious to see the world.

Though it is not known what the two did during their time in Pakistan, Mr Wright told Woolwich Crown Court: "They may have been home-grown but the direction of these young men came from Pakistan."

'Extremely volatile'

They were there at the same time as Assad Sarwar, who is now serving a life sentence for his part as the chief bomb-maker in the conspiracy. Sarwar admitted learning to make bombs in Pakistan.

Soon after Ali and Khatib returned to the UK, the plot became operational.

Khatib carried out "methodical, systematic" internet research into the properties of hexamine peroxide, one of the ingredients which Ali planned to use to make improvised explosives disguised in soft drink bottles.

In typed notes Khatib warned his fellow plotters to: "be extremely careful: the powder is extremely volatile and any contact could cause an explosion and when it explodes, it makes a high-pitch popping sound".

Khatib was also e-mailed by the leaders of the plot in Pakistan. Their discussions were heavily coded to disguise their true meaning.

Adam Khatib as a child
Adam Khatib went to school in east London

On the face of it they look like lovers' chat but the references to a marriage are thought to be code for the planned attack.

In one e-mail Khatib, who is addressed as "babe" and has the username "charminghardnut", is told "keep out of trouble cos u will give my dad a heart attack!!!!!!!!!! What on earth gave u an idea about callin off the marriage! I would never do that."

Elsewhere he is told "sort urself out otherwise our marriage will be going down the toilet!!!!!!! just keep out of trouble cos we are nearly there... I am having doubts about ur love!!!!"

This is thought to have been an expression of concern about Khatib's behaviour.

He had just received a community order for driving whilst disqualified and so risked drawing the attention of the police.

In fact, unknown to them, some of the cell members were already on MI5's radar.

In the summer of 2006, a covert police and MI5 surveillance team installed a hidden recording device and a camera in an empty flat Ali was using as his bomb factory.

Jihadi videos

Khatib was one of the few men allowed access into what prosecutors described as the "inner sanctum" at Forest Road, Walthamstow, where Ali and his right-hand man Tanvir Hussain experimented with prototype detonators.

Ali and Hussain also used the flat to record their chilling suicide videos, justifying the planned attack.

Hussain's will was also used in court

In his, Ali spoke of "floods of martyr operations" against non-Muslims which would scatter "your people's body parts" across the streets.

During the three years since his arrest, Khatib has maintained he did not know what Ali was plotting.

In custody he claimed not to hold extreme views and even turned down an offer of a copy of the Koran, saying he would prefer a Famous Five book by Enid Blyton.

But police believed this was a ruse to disguise his real views. At his home officers found jihadi videos including the recorded last will and testament of one of the 9/11 bombers.

The jury has agreed with the prosecution that this was a man "who is wholly subscribed to a violent agenda".

DAC McDowall said: "Adam Khatib may not have known the full extent of the plan being hatched by his co-conspirators, but he certainly knew that they had murder in mind.

"He was a footsoldier to Abdullah Ahmed Ali and was actively involved in a conspiracy to attack innocent members of the public.

"Nabeel Hussain assisted Ali and his cohorts in preparing for acts of terrorism. Both men are committed terrorists who met Ali when he was furthering his plans to blow up transatlantic aircraft.

"Hussain even contemplated losing his life in an act of martyrdom and had made a will expressing a willingness to die a violent death."

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