Terrorists Targeted London Nightclub

Terrorists with al-Qaeda links planned to blow up a central London nightclub, the city’s Old Bailey court heard March 22nd.

Jawad Akbar, one of seven men on trial for conspiring to cause explosions, also considered attacks on London’s gas, water and electricity supplies, according to prosecuting counsel David Waters QC.

Four men from Crawley, West Sussex, one from Horley, in Surrey, one from Ilford, East London, and another from Luton, Bedfordshire, deny the charges.

Four of the men also deny having chemicals suitable for bomb-making. The trial is expected to last five months.

The prosecution claims Salahuddin Amin from Luton and Omar Khyam from Crawley received training in explosives and use of the poison ricin in Pakistan.

Using evidence from a listening device installed at Akbar’s Uxbridge home, Waters told the court gang members met February 22, 2004, to discuss possible targets.

“Jawad Akbar referred to attacks upon the utilities, gas, water or electrical supplies,” Waters continued.

“Alternatively, a big nightclub in central London might be a target.”

“The biggest nightclub in central London, no one can put their hands up and say they are innocent – those slags dancing around,” Akbar allegedly said.

Later, he was recorded saying: “I think the club thing you could do, but the gas would be much harder.”

On one tape, defendant Waheed Mahmood raised the issue of bombing Kent’s Bluewater shopping centre on a Saturday.

At the home he shared with his brother Shujah in Crawley, police found a list of synagogues including sites in London and Manchester. The list had both Mahmood brothers’ fingerprints on it, Waters said.

Waheed Mahmood worked for Morrisons Utility Services, a contractor for National Grid Transco, which runs the high voltage electricity network in England and Wales and Britain’s high-pressure gas infrastructure.

The court heard a letter was found at defendant Anthony Garcia’s girlfriend’s house in North London, which seemed to be Garcia saying farewell to his younger brother.

“Don’t think this is our last time. We will meet soon, Isallah, either in this life or the other,” it read.

The court also heard that in 2001, when defendant Salahuddin Amin had been in Pakistan, he had been asked by Abu Munthir (a man he had met at a mosque in his hometown of Luton) to contact a man named Abu Annis about a “radio-isotope bomb.”

“Amin did so via the Internet and Abu Annis said they had made contact with the Russian mafia in Belgium and, from the mafia, they were trying to buy this bomb,” Waters told the jury.

Amin later told police he did not believe the offer could be genuine because he didn’t think it likely “that you can go and pick an atomic bomb up and use it.”

Amin, Akbar, Khyam, Waheed Mahmood and his 19-year-old brother Shujah Mahmood, all of Crawley, West Sussex, along with Anthony Garcia of Ilford, East London – also known as Rahman Adam – and Nabeel Hussain of Horley, Surrey, all deny conspiring to cause explosions.

Khyam, Garcia and Hussain deny possessing ammonium nitrate fertilizer. Khyam and Shujah Mahmood deny possessing aluminium powder.

— John Gammon