British couple get life term for plot to attack London

Mohammed Rehman and his wife Sana Ahmed Khan had carried out detailed research into militant attacks, including searching the Internet for videos related to the London transport bombings that killed 52 people a decade ago, said the British prosecutor
Mohammed Rehman (left) and his wife Sana Ahmed Khan (right) had carried out detailed research into militant attacks, including searching the Internet for videos related to the London transport bombings that killed 52 people a decade ago, said the British prosecutor.

LONDON • A British couple have been convicted of plotting an attack in London after the husband sent out tweets asking for advice on which targets he should hit, alerting police to a stockpile of chemicals at their home.

Mohammed Rehman, 25, and Sana Ahmed Khan, 24, were sentenced to life in prison by judge Jeremy Baker, after being found guilty on Tuesday. They had planned to hit either a large shopping centre in the capital or the London underground network around May 28.

"Westfield shopping centre or London underground? Any advice would be appreciated greatly," Rehman said on Twitter, under the name "Silent Bomber".

The couple, who denied the charges, are to be sentenced at a later date.

The British prosecutor said the duo had carried out detailed research into militant attacks, including searching the Internet for videos related to the London transport bombings that killed 52 people a decade ago.

Those attacks were carried out on July 7, 2005 when four young British Muslims travelled from northern England to the capital to detonate homemade bombs hidden in rucksacks on three underground trains and a bus during the morning rush hour.

British media reports said Rehman and Ahmed Khan had planned to carry out an attack to coincide with the 10-year anniversary of those earlier bombings.

Rehman, who was also found guilty of possessing an article for terrorist purposes, had carried out bomb tests in his garden that he filmed and sent to his wife, and she had also helped to buy the chemicals, the prosecutor said.

"The pair had been very close to carrying out an attack, all they required was to purchase the chemicals to make a detonator," said Ms Susan Hemming, head of the counter-terrorism division at the Crown Prosecution Service. She said the couple had acquired 10kg of urea nitrate.

"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."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 31, 2015, with the headline 'British couple get life term for plot to attack London'. Print Edition | Subscribe