Hindu Vivek Kendra
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Terror plot suspects planned to murder police officers or soldiers in drive-by shooting, court hears

Author: Cahal Milmo
Publication: The Independent
Date: October 17, 2014
URL: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/terror-plot-suspects-planned-to-murder-police-officers-or-soldiers-in-driveby-shooting-court-hears-9802670.html

Four men charged with a terror plot had allegedly sworn allegiance to Islamic State and planned to murder police or soldiers in a drive-by shooting on the streets of London, a court heard on Friday.

The quartet are accused of carrying out 21 separate steps over the past three months - including allegedly obtaining a gun with a silencer and carrying out “hostile reconnaissance” of a police station and a barracks - as part of the claimed conspiracy.

Trainee doctor Tarik Hassane, 21, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday afternoon amid tight security alongside Suhaib Majeed, 20, Momen Motasim, 21, and 24-year-old Nyall Hamlett after Scotland Yard announced it was charging them with intending to commit acts of terrorism.

The alleged activities of the men, detailed in a lengthy charge sheet issued by the Metropolitan Police, were said to have included viewing and retaining images sent via Instagram of two of the force’s officers and two of its community support officers as well as discussing buying and storing a moped. They were arrested nearly two weeks ago in pre-dawn raids at separate addresses by counter-terrorism officers.

The alleged gang, who are also accused of possessing extreme jihadist propaganda including images of the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff, were brought to the central London court in a convoy of armoured vans and police cars which was followed overhead by a helicopter.

Flanked by plain-clothes officers, some of them wearing protective vests, the men, all from west and north west London, spoke only to confirm their names and addresses. Two of them - Hassane and Majeed - appeared to laugh in the glass-covered dock as details of the alleged plot were read to the court.

Mark Dawson, prosecuting, told the court the case concerned an alleged plot “to shoot, to kill, police officers or soldiers on the streets of London” and it had been conducted between 8 July and their arrest on 7 October.

The packed court room was told that not all 21 alleged actions described in the charge sheet related to every member of the gang with different items relating to different individuals.

District Judge Emma Arbuthnot remanded the men, who are all charged under the Terrorism Act 2006,  in custody until later this month.

Details of the charge alleged that the four had sworn an oath of allegiance to Islamic State (IS), violent jihadist terror group which has captured swathes of Syria and Iraq. The men are also accused of downloading and deciding to act upon a “fatwa” or religious edict by one of the group’s leaders, Abu Mohammad al Adnani.

Adnani, who heads IS’s operations in Syria, is also the organisation’s official spokesman and has made frequent statements online, including the group’s declaration of a “caliphate” in the territory it controls.

It is claimed that the group set up methods of secret communications and held covert discussions in which terrorist “tradecraft” was shown by using code words for money, mopeds and firearms.

It is also alleged the men sought and managed to buy a firearm, namely a converted Baikal handgun, along with six rounds of ammunition. They are accused of then researching the Russian-made guns on YouTube after allegedly obtaining one of  the weapons and storing it at an unnamed location.

The charge claims that the group discussed obtaining a moped, including the most suitable brand, and storing it at an unspecified location in Shepherds Bush, west London.

As well as being accused of keeping images of two Yard officers and two PCSOs, the men are charged with using Google’s Street View software showing building frontages to carry out “hostile reconnaissance” of Shepherds Bush police station and a nearby Territorial Army Barracks in White City.

The Yard last week warned police forces nationwide that officers should be on a heightened state of alert with regard to their personal safety.

The four men are also alleged to have possessed three items of jihadist propaganda - two copies of Inspire, an online magazine published by Al Qaeda, and a copy of another extremist publication which contained images of the beheading by IS of Mr Sotloff.

A fifth man, Nathan Cuffy, 25, from west London, also appeared in court charged with illegally transferring a Baikal handgun to Mr Hamlett, along with an ammunition magazine containing six bullets. He is not charged under terrorism legislation.

Two other men, aged 20 and 21, arrested on 7 October on suspicion of being concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism were released without charge on Monday.

Another man, arrested on the same date, was released from custody yesterday after the Crown Prosecution Service advised the was “insufficient evidence” to bring charges “at this time”, the Yard said.
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