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British woman pleads guilty to St Paul's Cathedral terror plot

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FILE PHOTO: Saint Paul's cathedral in central London on April 9, 2015.
FILE PHOTO: Saint Paul's cathedral in central London on April 9, 2015.   -   Copyright  BEN FATHERS / AFP
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A British woman who supported the so-called Islamic State group pleaded guilty on Friday to plotting to bomb St Paul's Cathedral in London, the Metropolitan Police said.

Safiyya Amira Shaikh, 36, from Middlesex, south-east England, admitted to the preparation of terrorist acts and dissemination of terrorist publications.

Prosecutors said Shaikh made contact with someone who could prepare explosives and went on a reconnaissance trip to scope out the historic site.

The woman "travelled to central London and stayed at a hotel in order to conduct reconnaissance; selected the hotel as a target for an explosive device; attended St Paul’s Cathedral to scope it, for security and for the best place to plant a second explosive device," the police statement said.

She "met a person and supplied her with two bags, with the intention and belief that explosive devices would be fitted into the bags; prepared the words of a pledge of allegiance to Daesh, also known as Islamic State."

Shaikh also shared terrorist documents through groups using the Telegram messaging app between August 2019 and October 2019.

She spoke at a hearing at the Central London Criminal Court and is to be sentenced May 12.

UK terror threat

Britain has faced a number of terror attacks by Islamist militants in recent years.

The Manchester Arena bombing in 2017 killed 23 people including the perpetrator.

Five people were killed in March last year when a man rammed his car into pedestrians on the Westminster Bridge.

A further eight people lost their lives last June when three assailants went on a stabbing spree around London Bridge and a man also died two weeks later after being hit by a van near a mosque in north London.

Earlier this month, two people were stabbed in South London and the perpetrator shot dead.

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