'Three musketeers' guilty of terror plot

Three men who dubbed themselves the Three Musketeers have been found guilty of plotting a terror attack on a police or military target in the UK.

Naweed Ali, 29, and Khobaib Hussain, 25, both of Sparkhill, Birmingham, and Mohibur Rahman, 33, of Stoke-on-Trent, were convicted at the Old Bailey.

They were arrested in August last year in an undercover police sting using a fake courier firm.

A fourth man, Tahir Aziz, 38, from Stoke-on-Trent, was also found guilty.

Police say the men, who had all denied preparing terrorist acts, had been inspired by so-called Islamic State, also known as Daesh.

The men claimed the incriminating evidence was planted by an undercover officer, known as “Vincent”, who posed as the boss of a fake courier firm called Hero Couriers.

‘Violent material’

The court heard how MI5 officers bugged Ali’s car and found an incomplete pipe bomb and meat cleaver hidden in a shopping bag.

The meat cleaver had the word Kafir – the Arabic word for non-believer or infidel – scratched on to the blade.

When police searched Aziz’s car they found a samurai-style sword by the driver’s seat.

The jury heard how the defendants had been looking at violent material online, joined extremist social media groups and bought new mobile phones to help them further their plans.

Both Ali and Hussain had previously been jailed for terrorism offences.

They had tried to join an al-Qaeda training camp in Pakistan. However, when they arrived back in the UK they were immediately arrested and in 2012 both pleaded guilty to engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts.

Responding to the verdicts, Chief Superintendent Matt Ward, head of the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit, said: “Back in 2010 and 2011, they were inspired by al Qaeda.

“Since they’ve come out of prison, they’ve been inspired by the Daesh ideology.

“They shared lots of material regarding that ideology, lots of very violent material, they were trying to encourage others to join them on that journey.”

He said they were “dangerous individuals who needed to be stopped”.

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