London's Big Ben was target of UK terror plot

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Old 31-Dec-2010
London's Big Ben was target of UK terror plot

Some of the nine men arrested for plotting terror attacks in the UK were seen studying the tower of Big Ben before inspecting Westminster Abbey and the Church of Scientology

London:The nine people including one of Indian descent, who were arrested in the UK for plotting a Christmas bombing campaign, had planned to target the London Stock Exchange and the Big Ben, almost identical to the Mumbai-serial bomb attacks in 1993, revealed the prosecutor.

The nine men, mostly of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin, aged between 19 and 28, had carried out reconnaissance missions before deciding on their possible targets.
Prosecutor Piers Arnold told a British court on Tuesday that they visited Trafalgar Square and then Westminster, where a mobile phone was allegedly held up and pointed at the Big Ben.

According to The Daily Telegraph, police were said to have found a list of six sites, including the full postal address of the Stock Exchange, Boris Johnson’s London mayoral office and the US embassy.

Defendants were seen studying the tower of Big Ben, before inspecting Westminster Abbey, the London Eye and the Church of Scientology. The Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, two rabbis and the US Embassy were also said to have been listed for possible attack, according to The Daily Mail.

According to the British tabloid, besides 28-year-old Gurukanth Desai, others accused in the plot are Mohammed Moksudur Rahman Chowdhury, 20, Shah Mohammed Lutfar Rahman, 28, Omar Sharif Latif, 26, Abdul Malik Miah, 24. Bearded Miah and clean-shaven Desai are brothers, the court heard.

The four suspects from the Midlands were Nazam Hussain, 25, Usman Khan, 19, Mohibur Rahman, 26, and Abul Bosher Mohammed Shahjahan, 26. Miah and Desai both had applied to be released on bail—the only two suspects to do so-—but chief magistrate Howard Riddle remanded all nine accused in custody to the Old Bailey on January 14.

According to Arnold, surveillance teams followed their quarries to the South Bank and the London Eye giant ferris wheel, which was being “observed intently”. They moved on to look at the Church of Scientology building on Queen Victoria Street near Blackfriars, before visiting one of the branches of McDonald’s. After the arrests on December 20, searches at one of the addresses uncovered a handwritten note containing the contact details of six individuals, Arnold said.

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