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Thursday, 17 January, 2002, 17:58 GMT
Pair plotted 'terrorist' explosions
Two men accused of plotting to cause "terrorist" explosions in the UK were foiled by MI5, a court has heard.

Undercover officers retrieved two waste bin liners from an address in Birmingham and found traces of a high-explosive on discarded latex gloves, Birmingham Crown Court was told.

The jury at the trial heard that documents which amounted to a "terrorist's handbook" were found on a laptop used by 31-year-old Moinul Abedin and 37-year-old Faisal Mostafa.

Colman Treacy QC, prosecuting, told the jury: "We say they were plotting or planning to make bombs for terrorist or extremist purposes."

What these men were planning, and would have carried out had they not been checked, can properly be described as terrorism

Colman Treacy QC

Mr Abedin, from Fallows Road, Sparkhill, and Mr Mostafa, a chemistry Phd from Green Pastures, Stockport, Greater Manchester, are charged with plotting to cause explosions with intent to endanger life.

They deny the allegations.

Mr Treacy said the men used a rented house in Sparkhill and a unit at a business park to store raw materials and equipment.

When the bin liners were discarded on 15 November 2000, officers seized and examined them, he said.

Inside were chemical substances, electronic devices and the gloves containing traces of a chemical known as HMTD, a high-explosive, the court heard.

Two days later officers raided the property and found Mr Abedin hiding in the loft of a neighbouring property, the jury was told.

Mr Mostafa was then picked up at New Street rail station in Birmingham.

He had with him four computer discs containing information about making HMTD, Mr Treacy said.

'Terrible harm'

The court was told that in a storeroom at another property experts found the explosive and five detonators containing the chemical in a space under the stairs.

They also discovered packaging for weedkiller which can be used as a component for a home-made bomb, sulphuric acid, plus tools and face masks, Mr Treacy said.

"The devices and the materials they were preparing were never actually used", he said.

"They were not used because the authorities acted promptly, efficiently and properly arrested these men before they could plant a bomb or do the terrible sort of harm these devices can cause."

He added: "What these men were planning, and would have carried out had they not been checked, can properly be described as terrorism."

The court was told there was no indication that the men, both of Bangladeshi origin, were part of a terrorist organisation.

There was also no indication of an intended target, Mr Treacy said.

'Guerilla's Arsenal'

Mr Abedin and Mr Mostafa also face one charge each of doing an act with intent to cause explosions and another joint charge of possessing explosives.

The court was told that detectives discovered a file at a property in Stockport containing titles such as "Guerilla's Arsenal" and "Middle Eastern Terrorist Bomb Design".

Mr Treacy said Mr Mostafa later made a comment to a police officer which read: "I have been a fool. You'd think I'd know better after the last time."

The "last time" allegedly referred to a court case in 1996 when Mr Mostafa was tried and acquitted at Manchester crown court of conspiracy to commit explosions, said Mr Treacy.

Mr Mostafa later claimed to police that he became involved with Mr Abedin when the younger man expressed an interest in making rockets.

But Mr Treacy said that explanation did not "ring true".

"The long arm of coincidence simply doesn't stretch that far.

"A smart fellow like Mr Mostafa simply couldn't have got unfortunately or unwittingly involved."

Mr Mostafa must have given Mr Abedin the benefit of his "technical know-how", said Mr Treacy.

The case continues.

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