Three convicted in "airline bombings trial" in Britain

( dpa ) - The trial of eight men accused of planning to blow up a series of transatlantic flights with liquid explosives two years ago ended in London Monday with three convictions, one acquittal and four cases of the jury failing to reach a verdict.

The allegedly al-Qaeda-inspired plot uncovered by British and US intelligence in August 2006 changed air travel forever with tough new restrictions imposed worldwide on carrying liquids in hand luggage.

But the jury at Woolwich Crown Court in London, after more than 50 hours of deliberations, did not accept the contention of the prosecution that the plot was specifically linked to blowing up passenger aircraft.

It ruled that Abdullah Ahmed Ali, the gang's 27-year-old leader, was guilty of "conspiracy to the murder of persons unknown," along with co-defendants Assad Sarwar and Tanvir Hussain.

The jury found one of the eight men, Mohammed Gulzar, not guilty, and was unable to reach verdicts on the four remaining defendants.

Ali, a Briton who like the other defendants had links with Pakistan, was heard threatening "floods of martyr operations" against the British public, including attacks on London's Heathrow airport, the Houses of Parliament and oil refineries and other infrastructure targets, in a video played to the court.

The jury found that those convicted intended to murder people using a form of hydrogen peroxide liquid bomb disguised in a soft drink, but did not follow the prosecution's main charge of a conspiracy to murder "persons unknown onboard transatlantic aircraft."

Sentencing of the three men will take place at a later date.

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