Terrorists who plotted to carry out a rampage in London were foiled by MI5 agents at the last minute before they were able to carry out their attack, it has been revealed.
The four terrorists were convicted for the plot, which took place in August last year, and are awaiting sentencing.
Naweed Ali, 29, Khobaib Hussain, 25, and Mohibur Rahman, 33, styled themselves Musketeers and communicated using the encrypted messaging app Telegram. The three were previously imprisoned for terrorism offences. Ali and Hussain were arrested in 2011 for plans to fly to a jihadi training camp in Pakistan. They met Rahman, who had been convicted for possessing al-Qaeda materials detailing how to carry out terror attacks, while in prison.
After release they remained radical and formed a new terrorist plot.
The fourth member of the group, Tahir Aziz, they met in Birmingham after release. He reportedly joined the plot just days before the arrests were made.
The cell was in contact with notorious radical preacher Anjem Choudary, who was himself arrested and sentenced to five-and-a-half years imprisonment for supporting ISIS in September 2016.
MI5 created a fake courier agency called ‘Hero Couriers’ to keep track of the group and paid Hussain £100 pounds ($133) per day to carry things around the country. He placed a bag containing a meat cleaver, an imitation hand gun, a half made pipe bomb and several shotgun cartridges into Ali’s car, which was then found by agents.
Police are now under fire for allowing the plot to get as far as it did before intervening.
Security services were “very lucky” to have caught the plotters in time, according to David Videcette, a former counter-terrorism detective in the Metropolitan Police.
“It’s extremely worrying that individuals previously imprisoned for terrorism do not have their risk assessments upgraded,” he told The Independent.
The four terrorists are now awaiting sentencing.