Briton plotted ISIS-inspired drive-by shootings, court finds

Suhaib Majeed (left) and Tarik Hassane are pictured during a police surveillance operation.
Suhaib Majeed (left) and Tarik Hassane are pictured during a police surveillance operation.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - A British man was found guilty on Wednesday of a 2014 plot to kill police, troops and civilians in a drive-by shooting in London, inspired by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants.

Suhaib Majeed, 21, was convicted of conspiracy to murder and preparation of terrorist acts following a trial in the British capital.

His school friend, Tarik Hassane, 22, pleaded guilty to the same charges last month.

Jurors had been warned by the trial judge at the Old Bailey court to put Tuesday's deadly events in Brussels out of their minds as they considered their verdict.

Majeed, a physics student at London's King's College, had obtained a gun and ammunition and was discussing buying a moped when police arrested him, the court heard.

A police station and an army reserve barracks in west London had been identified as possible targets, prosecutors said.

Hassane, seen as the ringleader, had been studying medicine in Sudan and was nicknamed "The Surgeon" but came back to Britain as the attack was planned.

Commander Dean Haydon, head of the Metropolitan Police's counter-terrorism command, told reporters that officers suspected Hassane "was communicating with people in Syria".

"There is every possibility that he was in Syria but I can't confirm that," he added.

The two men were said to have links to the west London mosque attended by Mohammed Emwazi, the ISIS figure known as Jihadi John who appeared in a string of execution videos before being killed in a drone strike in Syria last year.

"This particular plot has evolved and become more complex than other attacks we've seen here in the UK in recent years involving Daesh," said Haydon, using another term for ISIS.

"This is about acquiring a moped, committing a drive-by shooting, acquiring a firearm, a silencer and ammunition, and in almost in broad daylight targeting police officers and the military and members of the public and making good their escape," he said.

British police have foiled seven militant plots in the last 18 months, according to Home Secretary Theresa May.

No date has yet been fixed for the two men's sentencing.