‘Three Musketeers’ jihadists get life sentences

Three jihadists who called themselves the ‘Three Musketeers’ in group messages have been jailed for life for plotting an attack similar to that on Lee Rigby.

Naweed Ali, 29, Khobaib Hussain, 25, of Birmingham, and Mohibur Rahman, 33, of Stoke-on-Trent, had planned a ‘mass casualty attack’ on a police or military target. They had all previously served prison sentences after being convicted of terrorism offences.

Tahir Aziz, 38, of Stoke, was also given a life term.

When the men were arrested in August last year, police found a meat cleaver and a partially constructed pipe bomb.

Police arrested the men after counter-terrorism officers set up a fake courier firm, called Hero Couriers, where Hussain and Ali were offered driving shifts. When Ali arrived for his first shift at the fake depot, MI5 officers searched his car. Inside they found a JD Sports bag containing the pipe bomb and meat cleaver with the word ‘kafir’ - non-believer - scratched on it.

An imitation gun, cartridges, a 9mm bullet, latex gloves and industrial tape were also found.

A samurai-style sword was found in Aziz’s car too before his arrest.

The trio were each sentenced to a minimum of 20 years, and Aziz was sentenced to a minimum of 15.

A jury convicted the men of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts between May and August 2016.

Old Bailey judge Mr Justice Globe said the men had been gripped by a ‘long-standing, radical, violent ideology’.

He said he was satisfied it was only because of the work of undercover police and security services that an imminent terrorist attack was stopped.

He said that the purpose of the attack was ‘to kill or injure and cause terror’ and ‘to promote an anti-Western ideology’.

Police say the men, who pleaded not guilty, had been inspired by the so-called Islamic State.

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