A gang who styled themselves as the “musketeers” has been found guilty of plotting a bomb and knife attack in the UK.
Naweed Ali and Khobaib Hussain from Birmingham, and Mohibur Rahman and Tahir Aziz from Stoke on Trent, stood trial at the Old Bailey after counter-terror police found a pipe bomb described as “viable”.
MI5 and undercover police officers had set up a fake firm in the city called Hero Couriers which employed both Hussain and Ali who were being monitored after earlier terrorist related convictions.
During Ali’s first day working at the Birmingham firm, police searched his black Seat car and were surprised to find the pipe bomb alongside ammunition, an imitation handgun and a meat cleaver with the word “Kafir” scratched into the blade.
It prompted a major security alert and the area around Florence St close to the city centre went into lockdown with the Army’s bomb squad tasked with making sure the pipe bomb would not explode.
The four men had denied plotting the attack and claimed in court an undercover MI5 officer known as Vincent had planted the bomb in the vehicle. The trial was held partly in secret.
Vincent was cross-examined over 12 days and repeatedly rejected the allegations against him.
Jurors agreed with him and, after deliberating for 22 hours, convicted Ali, 29, Hussain, 25, and Rahman, 33, of preparing terrorist acts.
Aziz, 38, was found guilty of the same offence after the jury deliberated for another 20 minutes.
Next door neighbours Ali and Hussain had previously been convicted after travelling to Pakistan to attend a terror training camp although neither man went through with the training.
Rahman had earlier served a five-year sentence for possessing materials linked to terrorism.
The three men met inside HMP Belmarsh in south east London and went on to plot the pipe bomb attack that was intercepted by the authorities in August last year.
West Midlands police arrested the four men shortly after they had discovered the bomb and have been unable to identify where the men had planned to detonate it.
As they were led from the dock, one of the convicted men shouted out: “I hope you’re happy with your lies. Lying scumbags.”