UK faces fresh threat from ‘Nike terrorists’
London: Britain has been warned of a new generation of terrorists inspired by the Internet.
Three men convicted of plotting an attack to eclipse 7/7 were not recruited by radical preachers, but influenced by extremist rantings online.
They made their own way to Pakistan where they were easily able to locate and join al Qaeda training camps.
On their return they raised cash and recruited suicide bombers and built a new and deadlier type of rucksack bomb, the Daily Mail reports.
Irfan Naseer, Irfan Khalid and Ashik Ali wanted to create a new landmark date of horror that would surpass the 2005 London bombings as ‘revenge for everything’.
According to the report, they plotted to use bombs and guns, attach knives to cars and drive them into crowds, a tactic they called ‘the Ultimate Mowing Machine,’ and smear poison on car door handles.
The group was inspired to mass murder by the Internet rantings of US-born Yemeni extremist Anwar Al-Awlaki.
Security experts are alarmed at the ease with which two of the men, Naseer and Khalid, made contact with al Qaeda command in Pakistan.
The gang, who lived on benefits, tricked members of the public into funding the operation by posing as street collectors for Muslim Aid during Ramadan.
They raised more than 12,000 pounds but lost 9,000 pounds in just five days after gambling on the stock exchange in an attempt to boost their coffers.
And Naseer, 31, bought an instant cold pack in the mistaken belief it contained ammonium nitrate, which can cause explosions.
The trio has been convicted of terrorist offences at Woolwich Crown Court.
The security services feared the men could target military bases, supermarkets, cinemas and train stations with a wave of up to eight suicide bombers armed with automatic rifles.
The terrorists were also inspired by 7/7 ringleader Mohammed Sidique Khan and said they would learn from his ‘mistakes’ and kill far more people.
One of the bombers was a respected teacher at a controversial Birmingham Islamic school known as ‘the Muslim Eton’.
The plot was smashed in the biggest security operation since the 2006 attempt to smuggle liquid bombs on planes destined for the US.
The hidden devices revealed how the men worshipped the 7/7 bombers and the internet writings of Osama Bin Laden, boasting their attack would be ‘another 9/11.’
According to the report, Naseer was convicted of five counts of preparing terrorist acts, Khalid of four and Ali of three. They will be sentenced in April or May.