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Gang who called themselves ‘Musketeers’ guilty of plotting UK bomb attack

(L-R) Tahir Aziz, Naweed Ali, Mohibur Rahman and Khobaib Hussain

A gang who styled themselves as the “musketeers” has been found guilty of plotting a bomb and knife attack in the UK.

Naweed Ali and Khobaib Hussain from Birmingham, and Mohibur Rahman and Tahir Aziz from Stoke on Trent, stood trial at the Old Bailey after counter-terror police found a pipe bomb described as “viable”.

MI5 and undercover police officers had set up a fake firm in the city called Hero Couriers which employed both Hussain and Ali. The pair were being monitored after earlier terrorist related convictions.

The Old Bailey in central London

During Ali’s first day working at the Birmingham firm last August, police searched his black Seat car and were surprised to find the bomb alongside ammunition, an imitation handgun and a meat cleaver with the word “kafir” (disbeliever) scratched into the blade.

It prompted a major security alert and the area around Florence Street close to the city centre went into lockdown, with the Army’s bomb squad tasked with making sure the pipe bomb would not explode.

The four men had denied plotting the attack and claimed in court an undercover MI5 officer known as Vincent had planted the bomb in the vehicle. The trial was held partly in secret.

The meat cleaver had the word ‘kafir’ (‘disbeliever’) scratched into the blade

Vincent was cross-examined over 12 days and repeatedly rejected the allegations against him.

Jurors agreed with him and, after deliberating for 22 hours, convicted Ali, 29, Hussain, 25, and Rahman, 33, of preparing terrorist acts.

Aziz, 38, was found guilty of the same offence after the jury deliberated for another 20 minutes.

Next door neighbours Ali and Hussain had previously been convicted after travelling to Pakistan to attend a terror training camp although neither man went through with the training.

A pipe bomb and meat cleaver were found in Ali’s car

Rahman had earlier served a five-year sentence for possessing materials linked to terrorism.

The three men met inside HMP Belmarsh in southeast London and went on to plot the pipe bomb attack that was intercepted by the authorities.

West Midlands Police arrested the four men shortly after they discovered the bomb and have been unable to identify where the men had planned to detonate it.

As they were led from the dock, one of the convicted men shouted out: “I hope you’re happy with your lies. Lying scumbags.”

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