Taliban bomb maker jailed for life

|News, Terrorism

A London man who plotted a terror attack near Parliament and made bombs for the Taliban in Afghanistan has been given a life sentence for terrorism offences today (20 July).

He was ordered to serve a minimum of 40 years in custody.

Khalid Ali, 28, was arrested by armed police near the Houses of Parliament and was carrying a knife with an eight inch blade and two smaller knives.

He was questioned by officers after his arrest in April last year, and claimed he had come to deliver a message to those in power and the knives were for his own protection.

The prosecution told the jury at the Old Bailey that Ali’s intention was to kill a police officer, a member of the armed forces or even a Member of Parliament in response to what he saw as Western aggression against Muslims around the world.

Five days before he was stopped, Ali visited high profile places such as Vauxhall Cross, where the MI6 building is located, Westminster Bridge, the Houses of Parliament and Whitehall. He also searched online for images of police officers wearing stab proof vests. The prosecution said this was to target unprotected areas of the body during his attack.

Ali’s fingerprints matched those found on bomb making components recovered in Afghanistan in 2012 and held on an FBI database. Some of the prints were on the sticky side of adhesive tape used in their manufacture which the prosecution argued indicated he had made the devices and was not merely handling them.

In a police interview, he boasted about how he had detonated more than 300 bombs but backtracked on his comments. The court heard how Ali left the UK in 2011 and spent time in Pakistan and Afghanistan where he joined the Taliban and became a bomb maker. He claimed he had gone to the region to learn more about Islam and go hiking in the mountains.

Ali returned to the UK in November 2016 without his passport which he claimed he had lost in Turkey and had to travel using emergency documents provided by the British consulate. He later gave the impression that he had returned to his former life training and working as a gas fitter and plumber but by March 2017 he was planning a terror attack in London.

He was convicted on 26 June.

Sue Hemming from the CPS said: “Khalid Ali planned to carry out a vicious knife attack in London that could have injured many and endangered life.

“He also boasted of working as a Taliban bomb maker in Afghanistan targeting US-led forces as well as Afghan security personnel.

“The jury agreed with the prosecution that he was engaged in terrorist acts at home and abroad and he is clearly a danger to the public in this country and elsewhere”

Notes to editors

  • Khalid Ali (dob 13/11/1989) was charged with:
    • Count 1: Possession of an explosive substance with intent, contrary to section 3(1)(b) of the Explosive Substances Act 1883.
    • Count 2: Possession of an explosive substance with intent, contrary to section 3(1)(b) of the Explosive Substances Act 1883.
    • Count 3: Preparation of terrorist acts, contrary to section 5(1)(a) of the Terrorism Act 2006.
  • The trial at the Old Bailey started on 04 June.
  • Sue Hemming is Head of the Special Crime and Counter-Terrorism Division in the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

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