A Bristol shopping centre was “just hours away” from a major terrorist suicide bombing, police have revealed.
There was “no doubt about it that an atrocity would have taken place” if police did not intervene and arrested 19-year-old Andrew Ibrahim in 2008, Detective Chief Inspector Matt Iddon said.
In an interview with ITV West Country, the detective explained: “Ibrahim was within a couple of hours of being able to put the suicide note together, to wrap the shrapnel around the explosive and then go to the shopping centre and conduct the attack he had prepared.
“Had it not been for that one call from that member of the Bristol Muslim community, I have no doubt that an atrocity would have taken place.”
Mr. Ibrahim was a convert to radical Islam who was born to a Christian Egyptian father and an English mother.
During his trial in 2009, the prosecution claimed he spent hours online researching figures such as Osama bin Laden and radical cleric Abu Hamza, as well as the July 7th London suicide bombers and Iraqi insurgents.
He was jailed for a minimum of ten years.
Deceive Iddon explained the case shows how the public should alert the police of any suspicious behaviour.
He said: “Without that call from a member of the mosque Ibrahim attended the outcome would most likely have been entirely different.
“Ibrahim intended to carry out explosions which would have led to mass fatalities, so that single phone call undoubtedly saved many lives.”
He added: “The importance of the information provided to us by the community, particularly in terrorism-related cases, cannot be understated.
“The public are one of our most vital assets and without their eyes and ears acting on our behalf we would not be half as effective as we are in preventing criminality of all types.”