So evidently Mohammed Rasheed (Nicky Reilly) wasn’t a freelance jihadist or a random fellow acting out his random mental illness at all. He seems to have been part of a jihadist group. And two more men have been arrested in connection with the attack.
“Exeter explosion: ‘bomber’ Nicky Reilly was sent text of encouragement,” by Duncan Gardham for the Telegraph, May 23 (thanks to John):
A Muslim convert accused of trying to set off three homemade nail bombs in a packed shopping centre in Exeter received a text message of encouragement on the day of the attacks, the Daily Telegraph has learned.
Investigating officers suspect Nicky Reilly, 22, who has learning difficulties, planned to commit suicide but do not think he could have constructed the bombs without help.
He received a message on his mobile phone on the day of the attacks which officers believe amounted to a “message of encouragement.”
“He has a very low IQ and has received treatment on more than one occasion for mental illness. He would be very easily led,” a police source said.
“This really does mark a low point for Muslim extremists. We are all horrified by what has happened here.”
The comments came as armed police investigating the bombing arrested two men outside a cafe today….
Reilly had allegedly been using a type of rudimentary bomb not employed by Muslims [sic] extremists in Britain before which was constructed from sodium hydroxide, aluminium foil strips and an essential oil, combined with kerosene.
The source confirmed that there were nails in the bag containing the devices, one of which partially detonated in the toilets of a restaurant in the Princesshay centre. The other two failed to go off….
“If it had gone up it would certainly have caused a huge fireball and the idea he was doing that in a family restaurant packed with children is awful.”
Special Branch officers were monitoring a group of alleged radicals in Plymouth, where Reilly lives with his mother, which was based at a local mosque but Reilly was on the fringes of the group.
The source said: “As part of our operations to monitor the activities of radical groups across the country we were aware of this group and of Reilly himself but he was right on the fringes of a group that did not appear to be planning any attacks….
Local people claim Reilly, who changed his name to Mohammed Rasheed, was “brainwashed” by a group that met at a fish and chip shop.