Three British citizens have been convicted of planning to blow up seven commercial airliners using bombs disguised as drinks.When they were arrested in August 2006, police said they could have been “within days” of carrying out their attack. John McDowall, head of the Metropolitan Police’s Anti-terrorism unit believes the consequences would have been unimaginable. He said:
“The loss of life would have been immense; it’s very difficult to actually comprehend what exactly this would have meant but certainly if the aircraft had been brought down over land, again, loss of life would have increased many times over.”The three men were found guilty of conspiracy to murder at a previous trial but the jury had failed to reach a verdict on the airline plot, which targeted seven flights from London Heathrow to North America. Each flight would have been carrying around 250 passengers. Sue Hemming, head of the Crown Prosecution Service’s counter-terrorism division, gave details of the plan, saying: “The men set up a bomb factory to make devices using soft drinks bottles. They emptied bottles and intended to refill them with explosives. Detonators were being assembled using batteries and the men intended to explode the devices whilst in the air.” Abdullah Ahmed Ali and Tanvir Hussein, both 28 and 29-year old Assad Sarwar will be sentenced next week. Another defendant, 31-year old Umar Islam, was found guilty of conspiracy to murder but cleared of plotting to blow up the airliners. The jury failed to reach a verdict against three other men accused of conspiracy to murder. The foiled plot caused chaos at the time of their arrest, with over 1,000 flights cancelled in Britain at the height of the holiday season. It triggered the ban on carrying liquids on flights that is still in force today.
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