Extremist jailed for plotting attack on American military personnel in Britain
Saturday 14 May 2016
Jailed: Junead Khan was ordered to serve a minimum of 12 years Metropolitan Police
A British Islamic extremist who idolised Jihadi John has been jailed for life for planning a terror attack on American military personnel in Britain.
Delivery driver Junead Khan, 25, was a “committed supporter” of Islamic State and plotted to kill a soldier in a “Jihadi John”-style knife attack.
His uncle, Shazib Khan, 23, from Luton, was also jailed for 13 years for engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts, namely planning to fight with Daesh in Syria.
Junead Khan used his agency job with a pharmaceutical firm as cover to scout United States Air Force bases in East Anglia for potential victims.
He plotted to kill American personnel with a large knife, and at one stage planned to build a pressure cooker bomb, which he would detonate as a suicide device if anyone tried to arrest him.
Outlining the plot, Mr Justice Edis said Junead Khan planned to ram his victim with his delivery car and then butcher them to death in a plot chillingly reminiscent of the murder of Fusilier Rigby.
Terror plot: an image of a combat knife Junead Khan looked at online (Metropolitan Police)
He said: “He could use his van to crash into them and then attack them with a large knife.
“He particularly wanted to have a knife like that used by Jihadi John to behead defenceless prisoners for propaganda purposes.”
“All Junead Khan needed was a vehicle, a knife and a target. He had all those,” he added.
Detectives discovered Khan had been exchanging chilling online messages with an Islamic State fighter in Syria calling himself Abu Hussain.
Prosecutors claimed Hussain was British-born fanatic Junaid Hussain, who was killed in a US drone strike in the IS stronghold of Raqqa just weeks after his link with the planned UK attack was discovered.
One message described an attack on military personnel which they compared with the brutal murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby in Woolwich in 2013.
In a chilling exchange Khan told the suspected Daesh member how he had missed an opportunity to kill US Soldiers on his rounds as a delivery driver in Bedfordshire, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, writing: “When I saw these US soldiers on road it just looked simple but I had nothing on me or would’ve got into an accident with them and made them get out the car.”
His contact replied, “That’s what the brother done with Lee Rigby”
Sentencing him on Friday at Kingston Crown Court, Mr Justice Edis said: “Junead Khan was not far from the commission of the murder to be committed by horrifying method in the street in order to create terror and terrorist propaganda in this country.
“His offence was so serious that a life sentence must be imposed.”
Khan, from Luton, stared straight ahead as he was handed the sentence after being found guilty of preparing terrorist acts between May and July last year, and being ordered to serve a minimum of 12 years.
Terror pair: Shazib Khan was also jailed for 13 years (Metropolitan Police)
He had also been found guilty of, jointly with his uncle, Shazib Khan, 23, of preparing to go to Syria to join IS.
Shazib Khan was given an extended sentence of 13 years in prison, and will have to serve eight years in custody.
The judge said the pair, who are of Bangladeshi backgrounds, had been radicalised by the banned terror group Al-Muhajiroun.
Police arrested Khan last July and discovered pictures on his phone of him posing in his bedroom with an IS-style black flag, which was later found in the attic.
His computer was found to contain an al Qaida bomb manual and Amazon searches for a large combat knife.
Police officers also recovered British and US flags stolen from a diner in Dunstable – which they believe were potentially to be used for a symbolic act during the terrorist attack.
Officers painstakingly trawled through approximately 66,000 text messages, social media messages and emails to piece together how the Khans planned to travel to Syria.
The pair spoke of “jihad” training and in one message to an unidentified person, Shazib Khan talked of becoming a martyr, saying: “I’ve always had that dream to become shaheed [Muslim martyr] on the path of Allah.”
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The two men shared graphic videos and images of soldiers being tortured and killed by Daesh, and sought advice on how to travel to Daesh-dominated territory in Syria.
Junead compiled lists of combat gear he would need for his life in Syria and sent Shazib Khan pictures of himself posing in front of a flag.
Speaking after the sentencing, Commander Dean Haydon, head of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command said: “Junead Khan’s ambition was to attack an innocent US soldier on our streets. He sought inspiration from terrorist videos, bomb-making guides and contacts in Syria.
“My officers raked through thousands of text messages and computer files to prove his plot and plans to travel to Syria with Shazib Khan, to fight alongside Daesh.
“Working together, the police, its partners and communities can prevent attacks like Junead Khan’s being carried out.
“If you notice suspicious behaviour or are concerned someone you know is being radicalised, please call the confidential Anti-Terrorist hotline or seek advice on the Prevent Tragedies website.