Four men have pleaded guilty to a 2010 terrorist plot that included the potential targetingof two rabbis, amongst other targets:
Four men inspired by al-Qaeda have admitted planning to detonate a bomb at the London Stock Exchange.
Mohammed Chowdhury, Shah Rahman, Gurukanth Desai and Abdul Miah pleaded guilty to engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism.
The men, from London and Cardiff, were arrested in December 2010 and were set to stand trial at Woolwich Crown Court.
Five other men have pleaded guilty to other terrorism offences and all nine will be sentenced next week.
The men, who are all British nationals, had been inspired by the preachings of the recently-killed radical extremist Anwar Al-Awlaki.
It emerged that those who admitted planning to target the London Stock Exchange wanted to send five mail bombs to various targets during the run up to Christmas 2010 and discussed launching a “Mumbai-style” atrocity.
A hand-written target list discovered at the home of one of the radical Islamists listed the names and addresses of London Mayor Boris Johnson, two rabbis, the US embassy and the Stock Exchange.
The conspiracy was stopped by undercover anti-terror police before firm dates could be set for attacks.
The terrorists met because of their membership of various radical groups and stayed in touch over the internet, through mobile phones and at specially arranged meetings.
CST was informed by the police of the potential threat to the rabbis when the group was arrested in December 2010, and together with the police we briefed the rabbis and the security officers at their synagogues. This plot is a reminder of the enduring terrorist threat that is faced by the UK Jewish community.
The “radical groups” that the men were associated with were al-Muhajiroun and its various successor groups, including Islam4UK and Muslims Against Crusades, which have been proscribed (pdf) by the government. This is no surprise: one research report (pdf) found that 15% of UK nationals convicted of Islamist terrorist offences had links to al-Muhajiroun or its successor organisations. Some details of the defendants’ connections to these groups appeared in the media at the time of their arrests, and it is likely that more will emerge in the coming days.
Below is Mohammed Chowdhury, the leader of the terrorist plot, holding an Islam4UK placard.