Four men were jailed on Thursday for plotting terrorist attacks in Britain.
Zahid Iqbal, Mohammed Sharfaraz Ahmed, Umar Arshad and Syed Farhan Hussain were sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court after admitting intending to commit acts of terrorism.
In April 2011, Iqbal and Ahmed discussed an attack on the Territorial Army base in Luton using explosives placed on a remote controlled car. Independent forensic evidence confirmed that the device was viable.
The court heard that Iqbal, 31, arranged for individuals to travel to Pakistan for terrorist training. Iqbal arranged one such visit in 2011 for Ahmed, 25.
Ahmed and others also undertook physical and psychological training, including military style hikes and runs – sometimes in Snowdonia national park in North Wales due to its apparent resemblance to the mountains of Pakistan.
Arshad, aged 24, provided assistance to Mr Ahmed in his preparations for the trip to Pakistan by supplying Pakistani telephone SIM cards and was aware that Ahmed was carrying money for the purposes of terrorism. Iqbal also discussed acquiring firearms and ammunition in February 2011. Ahmed discussed the possibility of obtaining firearms in conversation with Mr Hussain, 22, the youngest of the four men.
Sentencing the men, Mr Justice Wilkie said each of the defendants had access to, and accessed, many documents espousing violent jihad, including an al- Qaeda magazine Inspire aimed at Islamist fundamentalists.
The judge said Iqbal and Ahmed were twice recorded in “detailed and serious” discussions about deploying explosive devices and spoke of using one to attack the TA centre in Luton.
Mr Justice Wilkie said in each of the cases: “their persistent commitment to terrorist activity, in a number of different ways, over a significant period of time and, in each case, their willingness to take practical steps to obtain terrorist training abroad, marks them out as particularly dangerous.”
Iqbal and Ahmed, seen as the most serious offenders, were each sentenced to 16 years and three months, of which they will serve 11 years and three months in jail and an extended licence period of another five years.
Arshad was sentenced to six years and nine months with Hussain jailed for five years and three months.
Deborah Walsh, deputy head of counterterrorism at the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Four dangerous and committed terrorists are today starting lengthy prison sentences where they will no longer be a threat to the British public.”
“The police and security service succeeded in stopping these men before they were able to harm innocent lives. But the case highlights the continued threat posed by UK based terrorists and the complex web of international support that informs and encourages their dangerous and destructive plans.”
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