(AFP) – Two men were jailed for up to 16 years in Britain on Thursday for planning acts of terrorism including an al-Qaeda-inspired plot to send a remote-controlled toy car into an army reservist centre.
Zahid Iqbal, 31, and Mohammed Sharfaraz Ahmed, 25, had discussed building an explosive device using a manual entitled “Make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom — by the Al-Qaeda chef”, prosecutors said.
In covert recordings of the pair, Iqbal suggested attaching the bomb to the toy car and dispatching it under a gate into a Territorial Army centre in Luton, the town north of London where the men live.
Iqbal was heard 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.”
Jurors also heard that Iqbal had been acting as a “facilitator” for people who wanted to travel overseas for “extremist purposes” and he had direct contact at one time with a Pakistani operative with the pseudonym “Modern Sleeve”.
Judge Alan Wilkie told Woolwich Crown Court in London that the pair posed “a significant risk of serious harm to the public” and told them they would spend at least 11 years and three months behind bars, although the sentence can be extended by another five years.
Two other men were also jailed. Umar Arshad, 24, was given a sentence of six years and nine months and Syed Farhan Hussain, 22, was jailed for five years and three months for their roles in preparing for a terrorist attack.
The four men had admitted to a charge of preparing for acts of terrorism in 2011 and 2012.
Deborah Walsh, deputy head of counter-terrorism at the Crown Prosecution Service, described the men as “four dangerous and committed terrorists”.
She said the case highlighted “the continued threat posed by UK based terrorists and the complex web of international support that informs and encourages their dangerous and destructive plans”.
British investigators have expressed concerns about the radicalisation of young men in Luton since an Islamic radical from the town blew himself up in a suicide attack in the Swedish city of Stockholm in December 2010.