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‘Osama Bin London’ convicted by British court


London : An extremist who called himself “Osama Bin London” was Tuesday found guilty of training men in secret camps held in secluded forested areas of Britain to fight abroad.

Tanzania-born street preacher Mohammed Hamid, said to be one of the most important recruiters for Islamist extremism in Britain, was convicted at the end of a major trial lasting five months.

The 50-year-old man, who held camps in Lake District and New Forest regions of England, is thought to have trained the four men who participated in the failed suicide bombing on July 21, 2005.

The conviction marks a major success for counter-terrorism, as Hamid’s trial at the Woolwich crown court was the first to deal with a new offence of attending terrorist training.

The jury heard no evidence of weapons or explosives, but relied on surveillance tapes and recordings made by an undercover police officer who had penetrated a London-based jihadist cell.

The conversations and films showed Hamid and his followers – Muhammad al-Figari, Kader Ahmed and Kibley Da Costa – performing what was described as “military training” over a two-year period.

Hamid’s training came in the form of camping trips around Britain and late night talks in the living room of his home in Hackney, east London.

The training included leopard crawling low on the ground, anti-ambush drills, forward rolls, casualty evacuation and firing sticks held as imaginary rifles.

Three of his followers were found guilty of attending terrorism training while the fourth, Atilla Ahmet, had pleaded guilty at the beginning of the trial of soliciting to murder.

The three men had already been convicted but the trial was under a reporting restriction.

Another man, Mousa Brown, was acquitted of receiving training.

Hamid denied radicalising young men and claimed he was not running a “drop-in club” for the Al Qaeda terror network. He said he was trying to offer young Muslims support because they were vulnerable in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the United States.

But Acting Assistant Police Commissioner Peter Clarke of the Metropolitan Police said the men were responsible for the attacks in London on July 21, 2005, and had celebrated the deaths that occurred on when suicide bombers struck London on July 7, 2005.

“And in fact what they were doing accelerated and intensified to try to mount attacks both here and overseas. You can only possibly conclude that these were serious determined terrorists,” Clarke added.