Former prisoner convicted of planning IS-inspired sword attack
A man from a family of several jihadists who plotted a radical Islamic terror attack after his release from prison has been convicted at the Old Bailey in London.
27-year-old Sahayb Abu, who wrote that “Islam is for war, hostage-taking, killing infidels, fighting tyranny, taking war booty, taking women of the enemy as concubines” online, had purchased balaclavas, a combat vest, fingerless gloves, a knife, and an 18-inch (46cm) sword, which he paid to have specially sharpened.
Abu was found to have discussed his radical Islamic beliefs in a number of chat groups, praising the Westminster Bridge terror killer and proclaiming that “We need a 9/11 2.0” just hours before his arrest.
While Abu’s elder brother Muhamed Abu, 32, was acquitted of neglecting to inform the authorities of the planned attack — crying in court and yelling that his brother was a “clown” — several family members have previously been involved in jihadism, including two younger half-brothers who are believed to have died fighting for the Islamic State in Syria.
Another two siblings, half-brother Ahmed Aweys and half-sister Asma Aweys, were imprisoned for terror offences in 2018, along with Asma’s partner, with another half-sister being stopped attempting to leave the country with several children using documents for another person the same year.
Sahayb Abu told an undercover police officer that he regretted not joining his “martyr” siblings in Syria, saying he had “missed the caravan”.
He appears to have worked out some of his pent up frustration at this through violent homemade rap videos, which contained lyrics about “sending bombs” and “trying to see many Lee Rigby’s heads rolling on the ground” — a reference to an off-duty British soldier who was run down in the street and publicly beheaded by radical Muslims in London in 2013.
Abu had begun plotting his attack shortly after his release from prison for burglary — the police presented evidence of “family members justifying crime against ‘kuffar’ (unbelievers), for the purpose of jihad,” according to the BBC — after mingling with other extremists behind bars, including a man serving time for threatening violence against Prince William’s heir, then aged four.
Several other jihadist ex-cons managed to successfully execute terror attacks a short time after their release from prison, despite supposedly stringent license conditions, including London Bridge terrorist Usman Khan, Streatham stabber Sudesh Amman, and Reading assassin Khairi Saadallah.