Iraqi doctor guilty of failed London and Glasgow attacks
An Iraqi doctor who labelled the British Army and government "terrorist" for their involvement in Iraq was Tuesday convicted of plotting to kill hundreds of innocent people in al- Qaeda-inspired car bomb attacks in London and Glasgow in 2007, dpa reported.
A jury at Woolwich Crown Court in London found 29-year-old Bilal Abdulla guilty of conspiring to murder and to cause explosions in the two separate attacks that rocked Britain just a few days after Prime Minister Gordon Brown came to power in June, 2007.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said she was "pleased" with the conviction, which underlined "the serious and sustained threat" Britain continued to face from terrorism.
Abdulla is due to be sentenced Wednesday.
An attempt to blow up a Mercedes car loaded with gas cylinders, petrol and nails outside the Tiger Tiger nightclub in London, packed with some 500 revellers, on June 29, 2007, failed owing to a loose connection on the mobile phone detonators, the court heard.
Just a day later a Jeep carrying a similarly deadly cargo was rammed into the main terminal of Glasgow airport, in Scotland, going up in flames in an attempted suicide attack.
Bilal was co-passenger in the jeep driven by his friend, Indian doctor Kafeel Ahmed, who died from the severe burns he sustained in the attack.
The court ruled that Abdulla plotted "indiscriminate and wholesale" murder with Kafeel Ahmed in a wave of car bomb attacks.
Bilal, an accomplished Arabic scholar whose father was also a doctor in Britain, told Woolwich Crown Court in London that he did not want to harm anyone, but intended to draw attention to the plight of his countrymen with a "series of bloodless fires."
"I can't kill, I'm a healer, a doctor," Abdulla told the court. However, he wanted to "scare" the British people so that they realized their government leaders were "murderers."
However, the court heard that Abdulla wrote pamphlets vowing to kill British and US soldiers and attacking the "kingdom of evil."
As the Glasgow attack failed, Abdulla had fought with the police and onlookers, shouting "God is great" as he waited for the vehicle to explode, the court heard.
But the jury acquitted co-defendant Mohammed Asha, a 28-year-old neurologist from Jordan, of the same charges.
"You are not guilty of these charges and maybe discharged and resume, I hope, your life as it was before," the presiding judge told Asha.
Asha, who was arrested after the attack while driving along a motorway in northern Britain with his wife and young child, was expected to be released from jail in London Tuesday and deported to Jordan.
But Asha's lawyers said he would fight to remain in Britain and rebuild his medical career.
Asha, who denied any involvement in the plot, told the court: "I would never jeopardize my family or my wife for anything in the world."
Meanwhile, Abdulla's father, Talal Abdulla, told the court in a written witness statement that the "sky fell in" on his family when his son was arrested.
Profesor Abdulla, who lives as a refugee in Jordan, said: "I cannot contemplate Bilal doing this. I am deeply sorry and apologize to the British public for any distress caused."