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July 07, 2010

Three Britons Convicted in Airliner Bomb Plot

Three men in Britain have been found guilty of conspiracy to murder hundreds of people in a terrorist attack.  The men were tried in connection with a plot to detonate homemade liquid bombs on trans-Atlantic flights.  

Sue Hemming is head of Britain's Crown Prosecution Service's counterterrorism department.

"Ibrahim Savant, Arafat Waheed Khan and Waheed Zaman were actively working alongside other men to cause death and injury on a massive scale," she said.

The three men were recruited by the ringleader of a group that planned to bomb trans-Atlantic airliners.

The group had planned to detonate homemade liquid bombs that were concealed as soft drinks and smuggled onto flights bound for the United States and Canada in 2006.  The suspects were arrested during raids in London and the surrounding area.

The plot was foiled in one of Britain's biggest counterterrorism investigations. 

"The men were involved in a calculated and sophisticated plot to create a terrorist event of major proportions working alongside others who were determined to bring down aircraft using homemade explosives causing the maximum possible loss of life," Hemming said.

The three Muslim men recorded martyrdom videos threatening attacks against Britain and the United States.

This is the third trial the three faced.  A jury in 2008 failed to agree on a verdict, and a jury last year cleared the men of having known that the plot was intended to kill people on an airline.  But they have now been convicted on a broader charge, conspiracy to murder. Sue Hemming said the prosecution was right to pursue a third trial.  

"It illustrates the determination of the crown prosecution service to bring to justice those who would use terror to try to further their aims," said Hemming.

The three are to be sentenced on Monday and face life imprisonment.