Eight face conspiracy charges in aircraft bomb-plot probe

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Eleven individuals have been charged in the UK in connection with the criminal investigation into an alleged plot to destroy passenger aircraft.

Eight of those have been charged with conspiracy to murder while the remaining three have been charged with other terrorism-related offences – one with possession of articles useful to preparing a terrorism act, and two with failure to disclose information.

Crown Prosecution Service counter-terrorism division chief Susan Hemming says: “This morning I made a decision that there was sufficient evidence and authorised, with the approval of the director of public prosecutions, the charge of 11 individuals.”

She says that the eight individuals facing the conspiracy charge have also been charged with preparing acts of terrorism, an offence newly introduced under UK legislation.

Hemming says that the offences relate to an alleged plot to manufacture and smuggle the component parts of improvised explosive devices on board aircraft, assemble them and detonate them.

While one person has been released without charge, another 11 are still in custody and remain under investigation. Hemming says: “We cannot yet make a decision about whether further charges will follow or if a further application for detention will be made…as the evidential picture is continuously developing.”

The Crown Prosecution Service has identified the eight charged with conspiracy to murder as Ahmed Abdullah Ali, Tanvir Hussain, Umar Islam, Arafat Waheed Khan, Assad Ali Sarwar, Adam Khatib, Ibrahim Savant and Waheed Zaman.

A 17-year old male, whose name has not been released, faces charges relating to possession of items likely to be useful to a person preparing acts of terrorism – including a book on improvised explosive devices, suicide notes, wills and other documents.

Two other people, named as Cossar Ali and Mehran Hussain, are charged with failure to disclose information.

Metropolitan Police anti-terrorist branch chief Peter Clarke says that “highly significant” video and audio surveillance evidence was gathered by police before the investigation into the alleged plot became public on 10 August.

He says that police have also recovered bomb-making equipment including chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide, a component of explosives such as triacetone triperoxide (TATP). A number of ‘martyrdom videos’ – pre-recorded statements on videotape – have also been seized.

Clarke says that the scale of the inquiry is “immense” and that investigations will “span the globe”. He states that police have recovered 400 computers, containing around 6,000GB of data, as well as 200 mobile telephones and 8,000 items of storage media in connection with the investigation.

Security checks at UK airports were stepped up on 10 August in the wake of the investigation, leading to several days’ disruption to airline operations, particularly at London Heathrow.