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Five men plead guilty in plot to bomb Canadian, U.S. flights

July 14, 2008, London, U.K. - Five men accused of plotting to detonate liquid explosives on board trans-Atlantic passenger jets, including some bound for Canada have pleaded guilty to lesser offenses.


July 14, 2008
By The Canadian Press

July 14, 2008, London, U.K. – Five men accused of plotting to detonate liquid
explosives on board trans-Atlantic passenger jets, including some
bound for Canada, have pleaded guilty to lesser offenses but
maintain they never intended to destroy airliners, a jury was told
Monday.

Prosecutors say the five, along with three other defendants,
wanted to kill hundreds of passengers with bombs concealed in soft
drink bottles as their flights crossed the Atlantic Ocean or passed
over North American cities. Investigators had previously alleged
that flights headed for Toronto and Montreal were targeted in the
plan.

Prosecutors say they were close to carrying out their plan when
they were arrested in August 2006 and that they had created
“martyrdom'' videos to be shown after the suicide-bombings were
carried out.

The alleged plan's unraveling quickly led to tough new
restrictions on the amount of liquids and gels airline passengers
could take in their carry-on luggage _ restrictions which remain in
place.

Three of the men – Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 27, Assad Sarwar, 28, and
Tanvir Hussain, 27 – admitted they planned to set off bombs, just
not aboard planes bound from London's Heathrow to North America, the
jury was told.

They and two other defendants – Ibrahim Savant, 27, and Umar
Islam, 30 – have also admitted to “conspiring to cause a public
nuisance'' by publishing videos threatening suicide bomb attacks.

Ali and Sarwar told the court they were assembling the weapons as
part of a publicity stunt to promote an anti-Western documentary
which would feature the videos. Ali said he hoped a small,
non-fatal, bombing – at Britain's Houses of Parliament, at an oil
refinery, or at an airport – would jolt Londoners and draw attention
to his movie.

“We did not want to kill or injure anyone,'' Ali told Woolwich
Crown Court in southeast London last month. He added that he wanted
to set off something “that would be considered serious and
credible, something to generate that mass media attention.''

Jurors still need to rule on whether the eight defendants are
guilty of plotting to murder hundreds of people by using their bombs aboard planes. Their trial is drawing to a close.

It was not immediately clear when the guilty pleas were made,
although the jury was informed of them Monday. Britain's Crown
Prosecution Service did not immediately return a call seeking
clarification.