LONDON: Aspiring suicide bomber Mohammed Rehman and his secret wife Sana Ahmed Khan have been found guilty of planning a massive terror attack on London to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the 7/7 atrocity.
Going by the name Silent Bomber, the Islamic extremist, 25, took to Twitter in May asking for suggestions on which target to choose – Westfield shopping centre or the Tube.
With money from his wife, 24, he stockpiled the chemicals needed to make a huge bomb at his family home in Reading and even filmed himself setting off a small explosion in his back garden.
The prosecution said Rehman was just days away from completing the device which would have caused multiple casualties in the capital if he had not been stopped by anti-terror police.
Following a trial at the Old Bailey, the couple were found guilty of preparing an act of terrorism around May 28 this year.
Rehman was also convicted of possessing an article for terrorist purposes.
The jury of seven women and five men found the pair guilty after three days of deliberations.
Rehman, wearing a purple jumper, gold shirt and gold tie, and Khan, in a purple jumper and brown scarf, showed no emotion as the verdicts were read out, but Khan glanced up to the public gallery as they were led off to the cells.
Prosecutor Tony Badenoch QC had said the pair shared a ‘common interest’ in violent and extreme Islamic ideology and had repeatedly researched the 7/7 bombers.
They also had a keen interest in Islamic State, and Rehman’s online research showed he approved and ‘wished to play his own part’.
Khan helped fuel his violent ambition by paying for chemicals bought on eBay.
Counter-terrorism officers foiled the plot after an undercover investigator spotted Rehman’s tweet about potential targets.
On May 12, Rehman used a profile picture of Jihadi John to post: ‘Westfield shopping centre or London underground? Any advice would be appreciated greatly.’
It was accompanied by a link to the al Qaida uncensored media release about the 7/7 bombings.
The same day, he trawled YouTube for London bombings and Shehzad Tanweer – one of the 7/7 bombers who he referred to as his ‘beloved predecessor’.
He also told a Twitter user: ‘Why don’t you head to the London Underground on the 7th July if you got the balls.’
The undercover investigator, who used the name Abu Mohammed, engaged with Rehman in a private conversation in which the defendant asked him ‘how dumb these Kuffar are lol’.
Rehman confided that he was preparing for martyrdom and asked the officer if he wanted to join him or go the ‘lone wolf route’.
Jurors were told his intentions could not have been clearer when he tweeted: ‘Now I just make explosives in preparation for kuffar lol and when I’ve made the required amount I’ll be wearing them on my chest.’
Police swooped to arrest Rehman and Khan on May 28 – just over a month before the anniversary of the 7/7 attacks which killed 52 Londoners.
Rehman fled his home to a nearby Co-op where he was stopped by armed police, despite trying to kick and punch his way out.
He insisted there was nothing dangerous in his home, despite having tweeted that he had ‘a surprise waiting for them’.
He also claimed to have rigged up a bomb which could be triggered at the touch of a button at his bedside, saying: ‘Nobody gets in the way of my jihad.’
What officers found were a Jihadi John-style hunting knife and chemicals for a massive bomb which was days from completion.
Officers seized more than 10kg of urea nitrate – a highly explosive chemical – which if detonated would have caused multiple fatalities in a public place, jurors were told.
In police interview, Rehman admitted making and testing explosives but denied intending to harm anyone, saying he had used Twitter to draw attention to himself in the hope he would be arrested and put in custody.
Khan refused to answer questions from police but admitted having conversations with Rehman about IS and jihad but denied knowing about his Twitter activities.
Khan, who studied to degree level at the University of Greenwich in south-east London, had known Rehman for 10 years. She kept their Islamic marriage a secret from her family who did not approve of drug-taking divorcee Rehman, and they lived separately with their parents and siblings.
Mr Badenoch told jurors that Rehman frequently had violent arguments with his family, causing his fearful father to spend time away and even sleep rough to avoid him.
Rehman, of Radstock Road, Reading, and Khan, of Hutton Close, Reading, denied wrongdoing but refused to give evidence in the trial.
On July 7 2005, 52 people died and more than 770 were injured in the worst terrorist atrocity in the UK since Lockerbie in 1988 and the country’s first suicide bomb attack. -METRO (By Richard Hartley-Parkinson)
THE PASHTUN TIMES