– Failed attack’s alleged chief admits Pakistan visit
– QC claims direct link with London suicide bombings
Direct links were drawn for the first time yesterday between the July 7 suicide bombings that killed 52 people and the failed Islamist extremist attacks in London two weeks later.
Using footage of the martyrdom videos left by July 7 bombers Mohammed Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer to illustrate the point, a barrister produced what he said was evidence that the ringleader of the July 21 plot had planned a joint UK terror campaign with them while at an al-Qaida training camp in Pakistan months before the summer of 2005.
The links were revealed to the jury in the trial of the July 21 suspects on Thursday, but a court order preventing their publication was only lifted yesterday.
Stephen Kamlish QC, representing one of the six defendants, Manfo Asiedu, 33, told the court that Muktar Said Ibrahim, the alleged July 21 ringleader, was in Pakistan at the same time as Khan and Tanweer. He told the court that within two months of all three returning to the UK they had made almost identical bombs containing hydrogen peroxide and an organic substance, such as flour, which had never been used before in the UK.
Mr Ibrahim denied knowing Khan and Tanweer but has told the court that the 7/7 attacks inspired him to do what he said was a “fake” copycat mission, because the bombs had been so successful in starting a debate in Britain about the Iraq war.
The court has heard that Mr Ibrahim was in Pakistan between December 2004 and March 2005. The prosecution claims he was at a jihadi training camp, but Mr Ibrahim claims he was on a three-month holiday with two friends, in which he visited several mosques and the tomb of the founder of Pakistan; his two friends never returned to the UK and are believed to be dead, according to the prosecution.
In cross-examination Mr Kamlish asked Mr Ibrahim whether he had met Tanweer and Khan in Pakistan. He replied: “I have never met any of these two people.”
Referring to evidence given earlier by Clifford Todd, senior scientist at the forensic explosives laboratory at Fort Halstead, Kent, Mr Kamlish continued: “The only two occasions on which the authorities in this country had ever come across an improvised explosive device made with hydrogen peroxide and an organic substance is 7/7 and 21/7.
“Had there been any discussion between you and them on how to make effective bombs, to start a bombing campaign in this country? The first was 7/7 and the second was going to be 21/7.”
“No,” said Mr Ibrahim.
“Do you know they were both in Pakistan the same time as you? When you were in Pakistan, so were they?” “Yes.”
“They were in Pakistan from the end of 2004 into 2005. You were all there at the same time for about two months.” “I don’t know,” said Mr Ibrahim. “All I can say is, I was there for three months.”
“You see the coincidence don’t you?” asked Mr Kamlish. The defendant replied: “From what you are saying is fact, yes.”
The barrister asked: “It wasn’t the case that the plan to use hydrogen peroxide was devised between you and others in Pakistan?” “No,” said Mr Ibrahim, adding: “From what I know, this has been around; the Palestinians use them.”
Jurors were shown martyrdom videos of Khan and Tanweer, both wearing red headscarves and speaking in northern accents, as they justified their suicide bomb attacks nearly two years ago.
Mr Ibrahim stood facing a television screen to the right of the witness box at Woolwich crown court as Khan issued his threat to the west.
“Your democratically elected governments continuously perpetuate atrocities against my people all over the world …” Khan said. “Until we feel security, you will be our targets. And until you stop the bombing, gassing, imprisonment and torture of my people we will not stop this fight. We are at war and I am a soldier. Now you too will taste the reality of this situation.”
At the video’s end, Mr Kamlish pointed out Ayman Al-Zawahiri, al-Qaida number two, who referred to Khan and Tanweer having been on a camp in Pakistan.
“They were at an al-Qaida training camp when you were in Pakistan, but you never met them?” he asked. “No.”
“You had nothing to do with them about using hydrogen peroxide based explosives?” “No,” the defendant replied.
Mr Ibrahim, Mr Asiedu, Hussain Osman, Ramzi Mohammed, Yassin Omar and Adel Yahya all deny conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to cause explosions likely to endanger life.