British prosecutors charged a man on Friday with seeking to kidnap and kill a member of the armed forces as part of an alleged terrorist plot apparently aimed against Muslims who had served with British troops in Iraq. Parviz Khan, 36, was one of five charged with various terrorism-related offences. All were due to appear before magistrates in central London later on Friday. Sue Hemming, head of the Crown Prosecution Service's counter terrorism division, said the man faced a charge of engaging in conduct to give effect to his intention to kidnap and kill a member of the armed forces.
A defense source told Reuters last week that the intended target was a Muslim soldier. Media reports have said the plan was to copy tactics used by militants in Iraq by videoing the killing and posting it on the Internet. Khan was also charged with intending to supply equipment to others for use in acts of terrorism and with entering into a funding arrangement which could be used for terrorism. Four other men -- Mohammed Irfan, 30, Zahoor Iqbal, 29, Hamid Elasmar, 43, and Amjad Mahmood, 31 -- were also charged with those two offenses. Mahmood was further accused of failing to disclose information that could prevent an act of terrorism. The five men were among nine suspects arrested by police in a series of dawn raids in the central city of Birmingham last week. Three have been released without charge while the ninth is still being questioned.
"Although we are extremely encouraged by the way this investigation has progressed, it is vital that we do not fail to acknowledge the stark reality of what was being planned in our midst," said David Shaw, assistant chief constable of West Midlands Police. Shaw told reporters officers had seized 4,500 items, including computers, mobile phones and documents from homes and businesses in Birmingham, Britain's second largest city and one of its most ethnically diverse, with a large Muslim population.
"Nine days ago I said we were at the foothills of a major investigation," he said. "We have made extraordinary progress in that time. It would be wrong of me to leave you thinking that this was in any sense a completed inquiry."
Britain has been on its second highest alert level since four British Muslims killed 52 people on London's transport system in July 2005 in Western Europe's first Islamist suicide bombings. The Birmingham arrests aroused skepticism in the local Islamic community and elsewhere among Britain's 1.8 million Muslims because of previous blunders in high-profile security operations. One of the suspects released without charge, Abu Bakr, condemned Britain this week as a "police state" for Muslims. But Shaw said officers had received fantastic support from local people. "Contrary to much of the reporting about the area, we have seen real leadership from all sections of the community who have not only supported us but who have publicly supported our search for the truth," he said.
ReutersGüncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16