Hit & Run

Martyrdom in the UK

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Leading the news in the U.K., the trial of eight would-be terrorists is now underway in London. According to the prosecution, the plotters planned to simultaneously bomb seven transatlantic flights and, according to material seized from one of the suspect's computers, attack "one of the largest gas stations in the UK, oil refineries, the National Grid, and power stations including nuclear power stations." The Telegraph has the details. According to a wiretap transcript read to the jury, the bombers contemplated bringing their wives and babies along on their "martyrdom operation":

When one of the men, Abdulla Ali, was asked "how long 'til the event?" he replied: "A couple of weeks."

Another, Umar Islam, added: "This is really going to happen, isn't it?", the court heard.

The discussion is then said to have turned to whether the men should take their wives and children on the alleged suicide missions.

Umar Islam was asked whether his wife might consider going with him on the "operation". He allegedly said: "I think if I was to say to her that this was a significant operation she might even find it in herself to do that."

Ali asks: "What about the babies?… Maybe she taken them with her?" Islam replies: "Maybe, you know what I mean. She'd like to do it though."

The prosecution also has in its possession a series of "suicide videos," in which the would-be bombers rant about soap operas and soccer:

Excerpts from six "chilling" alleged suicide videos were played to a jury, in which the defendants said they would "scatter body parts" over the streets in revenge for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.Wearing headscarves and posing in front of black flags with white Arabic writing, the defendants were filmed saying they would unleash "volcanoes of anger and revenge" and "rain terror and destruction" down on "non-believers".

They said the deaths of "so-called innocents" were justified because British taxpayers, who funded the Army, did not care about the fate of Muslims, as they were more interested in drinking, watching EastEnders and "complaining about the World Cup". The court has already been told that up to 18 suicide bombers were allegedly to be used to simultaneously bring down seven or more flights bound for the US and Canada from Heathrow Airport.

The Guardian's coverage here. The Times' coverage here. The incomparable little Englanders at the Daily Mail chime in here.

Update: The Mail adds this bit of detail from today's testimony: "[The prosecution] revealed that the fanatics hoped to hoodwink airport security officers by putting pornographic magazines and condoms in their hand luggage to indicate that they could not be Muslim zealots, the court was told."