The trial of jihadis who stashed a pipe bomb and a machete inscribed with the word ‘kafir’ as they plotted a terror attack was brought to a halt on Thursday in the wake of Wednesday’s attack in Westminster.
Naweed Ali and Khobaib Hussain, both of Sparkhill in Birmingham, and Stoke-on-Trent-based men Mohibur Rahman and Tahir Aziz, are on trial at the Old Bailey accused of preparing acts of terror last summer.
Officers arrested the men, who called themselves the Three Musketeers, after finding a stash of weapons in Naweed Ali’s car last summer, a multicoloured JD Sports bag containing a machete engraved with the word ‘infidel’.
“Scratched onto the blade in capital letters was the word kafir, as you probably know, the word kafir in Arabic means a non-believer or infidel,” said prosecutor Gavin Patterson QC.
“You may think it is clear what message was to be sent by that item and what use Ali intended to make of it.”
Jurors were also shown a picture of a partially-constructed pipe bomb, which the prosecutor said “was not yet viable, but the ultimate intended use of this device was clear”.
He noted that “damage can be done to property; injury or death can be caused to people nearby” with the improvised explosive devices.
Other items uncovered by officers in Mr. Ali’s Seat Leon included shotgun cartridges, an imitation handgun with an empty magazine attached, and an unfired bullet which jurors were told could have been used in a semi-automatic pistol.
Noting that the defendants made serious attempts to avoid leaving fingerprints on items left in the car, Mr. Patterson said:”These were men who were taking care to try to avoid detection of what they were doing and who wanted to pursue their plan secretly.”
Mobile phones, bought on eBay by Mr. Rahman to enable the would-be terror cell to share “covert discussions”, were also recovered from the vehicle.
Private messages found on the portable electronic devices were “highly significant”, and revealed the men’s violent ideology, according to the prosecutor.
According to ITV News, Mr. Rahman sent messages in May last year which ‘celebrated’ the Charlie Hebdo terror attacks which took place in Paris in 2015, and that the defendant’s phone also contained an image of the 2016 Nice Islamist attack.
On Thursday, trial judge Mr Justice Globe told jurors that the case will be suspended until next Tuesday as a result of the terror attack in Westminster which left four victims dead and dozens more injured.
He said: “I’m sure you appreciate that following the events of yesterday at Westminster, I have had to give consideration to various things in relation to the case.
“That inevitably I’m afraid is going to cause some delay with the case and regrettably means you are not going to be able to continue at this moment with Mr Patterson’s opening.”