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Al-Qaeda Bomb Maker Caught Near Downing Street Had ‘Message’ for UK’s Leaders

Firearms officiers from the British police detain a man on Whitehall near the Houses of Parliament in central London on April 27, 2017 before being taken away by police.
NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty

A man on trial for terrorism charges after being caught with a stash of knives near Parliament and the Prime Minister’s Downing Street office claimed he had a “message” for the UK’s political leaders, a court has heard.

Khalid Mohammed Omar Ali, 28, is on trial at the Old Bailey for preparing acts of terrorism by purchasing knives and travelling to the political heart of London on April 27th, 2017, and two charges of possessing an explosive substance in Afghanistan in 2012, reports Sky News.

Following his April 2017 arrest, Ali told police that he owed his loyalty to the Taliban and al-Qaeda and that he wanted to “deliver a message to the leaders and decision-makers of this country”.

Brian Altman QC, prosecuting, told the court that the suspected terrorist’s message to the UK’s political leaders were: that Western nations should leave Muslim countries; the West should release its prisoners of war; and the Palestinian territories should be given to the Arabs.

Mr. Altman told the jury that Ali went to Westminster “for one reason and one reason only – to launch a deadly terror attack to strike at the very heart of this country’s democracy, by killing a police officer, a member of the military or even a parliamentarian”.

“Chillingly, but for the interception of the defendant by the police, he would, say the prosecution, have carried out yet another murderous terror attack in Westminster,” the prosecutor added.

Ali’s arrest came just over a month after Islamist terrorist Khalid Masood killed four pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and Parliamentary Estate policeman PC Keith Palmer within the grounds of the Houses of Parliament in a vehicular and stabbing attack.

Ali, from Tottenham, North London, had been under surveillance and was caught yards from Downing Street with three large knives  – one in each of his jacket pockets and a longer weapon in the waistband of his tracksuit bottoms.

The court heard that he had been reported to the police by his mother hours earlier because she had become concerned by his behaviour.

The court also heard that Ali had returned to Britain from Afghanistan in November 2016 where he had built bombs and had detonated more than 300 devices over a five-year period, according to the suspect’s statements to police.

The United States’s FBI found Ali’s fingerprints on tape used in the construction of bomb components found in Spin Boldak and Kandahar in Afghanistan in January and July 2012, the Old Bailey heard.

It has also been alleged that Ali had begun scoping out the area by March 18th, 2017, by joining a leftist Stand Up to Racism march along Regent Street and Whitehall where he “showed an interest in the area and the police guarding it”, according to the prosecution.

On April 22nd, 2017, Ali “‘reconnoitred sensitive areas”, again visiting Whitehall as well as the MI6 building, the Houses of Parliament, and Westminster Bridge.

Ali denies all charges, claiming he had the knives on him for personal protection. The trial is ongoing.

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