A would-be suicide bomber and his wife have been found guilty of planning an attack in London.
Reported in the Guardian Mohammed Rehman, 25, and Sana Ahmed Khan, 24 had planned to coincide their bomb blast with the 10th anniversary of the July 7 2005 suicide attacks. They intended to launch their attack in either Westfield shopping centre, west London, or the London Underground and after deliberating three days a jury found the pair guilty of preparing an act of terrorism with Rehman also convicted of possessing an article for terrorist purposes.
Using the alias ‘Silent Bomber’ on Twitter, Rehman asked his followers in May for suggestions about which target to choose. “Westfield shopping centre or London underground?” Rehman is reported to have been just days away from assembling the bomb when he was arrested in May by anti-terror police, after an undercover investigator spotted his tweet about potential targets.
The investigator engaged Rehman in a private conversation and he confided that he was preparing to die and asked the officer if he wanted to join him or go the ‘lone wolf route’. The jury heard that 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.”
In a police interview, Rehman admitted making and testing explosives but denied intending to harm anyone, instead claiming he used Twitter to draw attention to himself in the hope he would be arrested. His partner, Khan, refused to answer questions from police but admitted having conversations with Rehman about Isis and jihad but denied knowing about his Twitter activities.
Susan Hemming, head of the Crown Prosecution Service’s counterterrorism division, said:
The pair had been very close to carrying out an attack, all they required was to purchase the chemicals to make a detonator. There is little doubt that, had Rehman and Ahmed Khan not been stopped when they were, they would have attempted to carry out an act of terrorism in London.
The couple had known each other for 10 years, but she kept their Islamic marriage a secret from her family as they did not approve of Rehman, who was divorced.
During the trial, the court was read a letter sent by Rehman from prison to his wife’s parents:
Now as you can see, she has also been dragged into this with me. But regardless of what you have seen or heard in the news, she’s completely innocent of the crimes she has been charged with.
The pair are due to be sentenced later this week.