Man convicted of terror plot targeting officers and politicians

A man who was detained within metres of the Houses of Parliament with a rucksack containing knives has been found guilty of planning a terror attack and making bombs for the Taliban.

Jun 26, 2018
By Joe Shine
Khalid Ali will be sentenced on July 20

Khalid Ali, 28, was arrested on April 27 last year in Parliament Street, just a few months after returning from Afghanistan, where he had been fighting against British soldiers.

Ali had plotted to carry out a violent attack on police officers, MPs or military personnel in London on that day, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) said.

The Old Bailey heard on Tuesday (June 26) how Ali’s fingerprints were also found on component parts of explosive devices that were handed into US forces in 2012.

He was found guilty of preparation of a terrorist act and two counts of making an explosive substance.

An investigation into the 28-year-old plumber was launched by the MPS’s Counter Terrorism Command when he appeared at the British Consulate in Turkey in October 2016, asking for temporary travel documentation to return to the UK.

Ali, who claimed to have lost his passport at the time, had been reported missing by his family in 2011, and his “unusual demeanour” raised suspicions of staff at the consulate, who alerted UK authorities.

Arriving back at Heathrow Airport in November 2016, Ali was stopped under the Terrorism Act 2000 and officers took his fingerprints before allowing him to return to his family’s north London home.

The fingerprints were shared with the US authorities who found they matched those on several bomb components recovered from Afghanistan in 2012 and made by the Taliban.

On April 26, officers observed Ali visiting a shop in Edmonton and then dumping the containers for several knives into a bin.

That evening, local officers were called to Ali’s home address, where his distressed mother told them she was fearful for her family’s safety because Ali had become angry and she had also found four knives in his bedroom.

The next day, armed officers swooped on Ali in Whitehall and counter terrorism officers trawled through hours of CCTV to piece together his movements in the preceding months.

Officers recovered evidence of Ali carrying out hours of reconnaissance at the Houses of Parliament, New Scotland Yard, Downing Street and the MI6 offices.

Footage was also recovered that showed Ali speaking with officers excitedly about their equipment and what their role was.

Senior National Coordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon said: “It is apparent to me that Ali spent some considerable years helping the Taliban create – and maybe even detonate – bombs which could maim and kill many people in Afghanistan. All this before turning his attention to killing people in his home country.

“His intended targets were people who represented the UK authorities and he demonstrated a particular interest in the police, how they worked and what their capability was.

“Ali did not count on the joined-up working of the UK counter terrorism network and its partners internationally. Together, we have stopped a terrorist attack and put before the courts an individual whom I suspect thought would never be held to account for his crimes overseas.

“I would like to take this opportunity to ask anyone who sees something suspicious to act on those suspicions, no matter how small. It could be someone showing an inordinate level of interest in a building or area or maybe someone buying a large quantity of knives, albeit with other household items. Whatever it is that is making you feel instinctively that something is not right, please tell police and we’ll assess it.”

Ali awaits sentencing on July 20 at the Old Bailey.

 

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