A Bangladeshi-origin Briton who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group has been found guilty of hatching a terror plot to behead Prime Minister Theresa May in a suicide attack on Downing Street.
Naa’imur Zakariyah Rahman, on trial at the Old Bailey court in London, planned to bomb the gates of 10 Downing Street, kill guards and then attack the prime minister with a knife or gun. His plan was foiled as a result of a joint undercover operation by the FBI in the US and MI5 and Scotland Yard in the UK.
“I want to do a suicide bomb on Parliament. I want to attempt to kill Theresa May,” he is reported to have told the undercover intelligence officers.
“There are lorries here with big gas tankers, if a brother can drive it next to Parliament I will bomb,” said the 20-year-old from Birmingham, who had sworn allegiance to ISIS.
He has been on trial along with a 22-year-old ISIS ally, Mohammad Aqib Imran, who is accused of planning to travel abroad either to Libya or Syria to engage in terrorism.
Imran has already been found guilty of having a terrorist handbook and the jury continues to deliberate on a charge of preparing terrorist acts abroad against him.
But meanwhile, Rahman was found guilty for preparing acts of terrorism in Britain on Wednesday. His trial heard how he thought he was being helped by an ISIS handler when in fact he was talking to undercover officers. He had become the focus of a major undercover operation mounted by counter-terrorism officers from Scotland Yard and MI5.
He was arrested in London in November last year, shortly after the last of a number of meetings with undercover police officers posing as terrorists, and where he had been provided with what he was told was a suicide vest and a bomb. Rahman admitted midway through the trial to helping his friend Imran join ISIS in Libya by recording an ISIS sponsorship video.
The court heard that Rahman had come to the attention of British police in August last year when he was arrested on suspicion of sending indecent images to underage girls, but was never charged. An examination of his mobile phone raised concerns that he may have been harbouring extremist views.
He told an undercover officer: “[God willing] will be very big if I’m successful. I can’t mess up. I can’t get [martyrdom] if I get caught.”
The trial heard that Rahman had been in contact with an uncle who had travelled to Syria and joined ISIS and who had encouraged his nephew to carry out attacks in Britain. His resolve to do something hardened over time and he was “tipped over” into doing so when he heard his uncle had been killed in a drone strike, the jury heard.
The uncle, 28-year-old Musadikur Rohaman, had sent his nephew bomb-making instructions and told him to “take a gun and go into Waitrose and shoot people”.
According to prosecutors, Rahman sought to portray himself as a self-styled “liberal” Muslim to avoid drawing any attention to his extremist views.
He will be sentenced at a later date.