Three men convicted by UK court of plotting to bomb airliners

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Monday, September 7, 2009

A UK court has found three Britons guilty of planning to blow up transatlantic passenger jets on flights to North America.

Ringleader Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 28, and co-defendants Tanvir Hussain, 28, and Assad Sarwar, 29, were convicted on Monday for the 2006 plot, which involved bringing liquid explosives onto the flight disguised as soft drinks.

Four other men were found not guilty by the London court, and could not reach a verdict on an eighth suspect, who had previously been convicted on charges of conspiracy.

Prosecutors claimed that the plan targeted seven aeroplanes departing from London's Heathrow Airport, each of which could carry from 241 to 285 passengers. Intelligence officials cooperating in the original arrest included Scotland Yard, MI5 and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. According to the New York Times: "The idea, intelligence officials said, was to show the world that the security measures adopted after the Sept. 11 attacks were insufficient to foil the kind of low-technology, “asymmetric” attacks favored by Islamic extremists in their war with the West."

The plan was to detonate liquid explosives on seven flights headed to the United States and Canada.
Image: Transportation Security Adminstration.

The plan of the conspirators was to detonate liquid explosives on aircraft enroute on their transatlantic flights. From records found on the memory stick records found on the convicted men, flights were destined for North American cities including San Francisco, New York, Washington, Chicago, Montreal and Toronto. "If they had been successfully deployed, they would have killed thousands of people on board and maybe more if they had detonated them over land," an anonymous senior British police source said.

The liquid explosives would have been mixed on board in the aeroplane's lavatory after being brought through airport security disguised as soft drinks.

The sentencing will commence at a future date.