Khalid Ali, 28, a British National from north London has been found guilty by a jury at the Old Bailey of planning a terrorist attack in Westminster, and making explosives for the Taliban.
Ali was reported missing by his family in 2011, but appeared at the British Consulate in Turkey in October 2016, claiming he needed temporary travel documents to return to the UK because he lost his passport. Consulate staff in Turkey found Ali’s behaviour suspicious, so reported him to the UK authorities who took his fingerprints when he arrived at Heathrow in November 2016.
“The fingerprints were shared with the US authorities who found they were a match for fingerprints identified on a number of bomb components recovered from Afghanistan in 2012 and made by the terrorist organisation The Taliban,” Met Police said.
Though Ali had been released to go live with his family in north London, officers secretly watched him. He visited a shop in Edmonton and dumped packaging which turned out to be several knives, and later that evening officers were called to his home for another reason. Ali’s mother was distressed, and told police she was afraid for her family’s safety. Ali had become angry, and she found four knives in his bedroom.
Hours of CCTV footage showed Ali carrying out “hostile reconnaissance” at places such as the Houses of Parliament, New Scotland Yard, Downing Street and even MI6 offices.
“They also recovered CCTV of Ali speaking to police officers while carrying out reconnaissance in and around Whitehall. The police officers told investigators that Ali had been excitable and asked questions about their equipment and what they were doing,” Met Police said.
“It is apparent to me that Ali spent some considerable years helping the Taliban create – and maybe even detonate – bombs which could maim and kill many people in Afghanistan. All this before turning his attention to killing people in his home country,” Met Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon, Senior National Coordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing, said. “His intended targets were people who represented the UK authorities and he demonstrated a particular interest in the police, how they worked and what their capability was.”
“When asked by British police whether he had returned to the UK for jihad, he replied: ‘Jihad is what we do. We are Mujahideen'” the BBC reported.
Mujahideen refers to spiritual Muslim warriors, and means one engaged in Jihad or “holy war.”
Ali admitted to fighting British soldiers in Afghanistan, and said he had detonated more than 300 bombs.
Haydon urges anyone who sees something suspicious to report concerns by filling in the form at www.gov.uk/act or by calling police at 0800 789 321.