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3 Suspects Plead Guilty in Plot to Bomb Trans-Atlantic Airliners

Three men accused of planning to detonate liquid explosives aboard trans-Atlantic jetliners two years ago have pleaded guilty to conspiring to cause explosions. But the defendants, on trial in London, insisted they never intended to bomb airliners.

The same three defendants, and two others, also admitted Monday to making suicide videos.

Those entering pleas are among eight men on trial for the so-called Heathrow airport bomb plot. Authorities in 2006 said the suspects plotted to bomb U.S.-bound airliners with liquid explosives concealed in soft drink bottles as their flights crossed the Atlantic.

The jury, which began hearing the case in April, must decide if the remaining three suspects and the five who have admitted planning explosions are also guilty of the key charge of conspiring to bomb jetliners. Jury deliberations are expected to begin next week.

The eight accused have been identified as Abdulla Ahmed Ali, Assad Sarwar, Tanvir Hussain, Muhammad Gulzar, Ibrahim Savant, Arafat Waheed Khan, Waheed Zaman and Umar Islam, also known as Brian Young. All of the defendants are in their 20s.

Defense attorneys contend the suspects planned to cause a small explosion near the British parliament as a publicity stunt to draw attention to a film documentary they were said to be producing.

British authorities in 2006 said the airliner plot was well-advanced and aimed at mass murder "on an unimaginable scale." Reports of the suspected plot led to alarm on both sides of the Atlantic and to tight restrictions on airline passengers carrying liquids and gels.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.