Britons jailed for plotting bombings across country

Four Britons have been jailed for plotting al Qaeda-inspired bombings across the country, including an attack on an army base using a remote-controlled toy car packed with explosives which they planned to drive under the gates.

Prosecutors said the men, who were captured after an operation involving London’s Counter Terrorism Command and the MI5 domestic spy agency, were “dangerous and committed terrorists”.

Zahid Iqbal, Mohammed Sharfaraz Ahmed, Umar Arshad and Syed Farhan Hussain, from Luton, north of London, had all pleaded guilty last month to preparing for acts of terrorism.

Prosecutors said Iqbal was a “terrorist facilitator” who arranged for people, including Ahmed, to travel to Pakistan for extremist purposes.

Ahmed had recruited Arshad and Hussain.

British officials have said that while al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan and Afghanistan are less capable of organising mass attacks along the lines of the Jul 2005 suicide bombings on London which killed 52 commuters, the threat from homegrown Islamists remains.

Iqbal and Ahmed were jailed for 11 years, while Arshad was imprisoned for almost seven years and Hussain for more than five years.

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