6 Islamists sentenced for plotting to attack UK rightwingers

6 Islamists sentenced for plotting to attack UK rightwingers

Six al-Qaeda inspired British men were today handed jail terms of nearly 20 years each for plotting a deadly attack on a rally by a rightwing party in June last year.

The six men had earlier pleaded guilty to engaging in preparation for acts of terrorism and targeting an English Defence League demonstration in Dewsbury last year with homemade bombs, guns and knives.

Judge Nicholas Hilliard at the Old Bailey sentenced three men to 19-and-a-half years in prison, with an additional five years of restrictions on licence. They are Omar Khan, 31, Jewel Uddin, 27, and Zohaib Ahmed, 22.

Three other men were each sentenced to 18 years and nine months, with an additional five years on licence. They are Mohammed Saud, 23, Anzal Hussain, 25, and Mohammed Hasseen, 23.

"How was it that you became involved in a crime of this gravity? At least part of the answer to that question must come in the tide of apparently freely available extremist material in which most of you had immersed yourselves," Hilliard said to the culprits while reading out the sentences.

The judge said that had the attack succeeded it could have sparked "a spiral of tit-for-tat violence".

All the men will serve at least two-thirds of the jail terms before they can be considered for parole.

The plot of the group from Birmingham, last summer, failed by sheer luck as the group turned up too late and the rally had already finished.

They were caught by another stroke of luck, as an error by one of the terrorists when taking out car insurance led to one of their vehicles being stopped by a traffic officer as they returned home.

The group travelled to the town to carry out the attack on the afternoon of June 30. A veteran traffic officer decided to stop one of their cars later on the motorway and found it did not have valid insurance.

The vehicle was impounded and when it was searched by staff at a compound two days later, they discovered a haul of deadly weapons.

The cache included two shotguns, ammunition, as well as an improvised explosive device packed with 458 pieces of metal shrapnel, including nails.

Police also found three partially constructed pipe bombs, samurai swords, machetes and numerous knives. Also in the boot of the car were 10 leaflets dated the June 30, the day of the planned attack.

It has emerged that Jewel Uddin had come to the attention of counter-terrorism police before the EDL plot, which was possibly aimed at assassinating EDL leader Tommy Robinson.