Four British men
How could these British men have gotten the crazy idea that they should get involved in terrorism? The BBC gives no hint, beyond noting that they were connected to al-Qaeda.
“Four ‘planned to bomb Territorial Army base’ with toy car,” from the BBC, April 15 (thanks to Alan of England):
Four British men discussed bombing a Territorial Army base in Luton by driving a toy car beneath its gate, a court has heard.
Zahid Iqbal, 31, Mohammed Sharfaraz Ahmed, 25, Syed Farhan Hassain, 21, and Umar Arshad, 24, from Luton, pleaded guilty to terror offences in March.
They also arranged terrorism training, fundraising, and discussed the use of homemade bombs.
They are due to be sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court in London.
BBC home affairs correspondent Matt Prodger, who was at the hearing, reported that the four men smiled and giggled as the court was played recordings of conversations in which they discussed travelling to Pakistan for terror training, buying guns and making explosives, [sic]
They were also recorded talking about attaching an improvised explosive device to a toy remote-controlled car, driving it through a gap beneath the gate of the TA base, and detonating it beneath a military vehicle.
Iqbal was recorded telling Ahmed: “I was looking and drove past like the TA centre, Marsh Road. At the bottom of their gate there’s quite a big gap. If you had a little toy car it drives underneath one of their vehicles or something.”
Max Hill QC, for the prosecution, told the court the men had carried out physical training exercises in Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons in preparation for travelling to Pakistan – where they expected to join groups linked to al-Qaeda.
He said the men were subjects of an investigation by counter-terrorism police and MI5 into the movement of individuals from the UK to Pakistan “for extremist purposes linked to al-Qaeda”.
“They discussed making an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) following instructions from an Inspire magazine which they planned to adapt,” he told the court.
“They also identified a target for such an attack, namely a Territorial Army base in their locality, although they also discussed targeting multiple sites at one time.”
Iqbal was the ringleader who organised travel and training, and Ahmed was actively involved in the radicalisation and recruitment of others – organising physical training for the men and the purchase of survival equipment, the court heard.
In a recording from 15 January 2011, Iqbal said: “At least you’ll get to meet the brothers and then it’s up to them.
“They might even use you for something else in the meantime, cos there’s lots of different other things, innit. There’s people making weapons there, helping them making the bombs and stuff, other people transporting – maybe they will use you for something like that”¦ you will be checked out and stuff.”