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UK: Isis supporter admits to Prince George school attack plot

Thursday 31 May 2018, by siawi3

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/may/31/isis-supporter-admits-to-prince-george-school-attack-plot-husnain-rashid

UK news
Isis supporter admits to Prince George school attack plot

Husnain Rashid admits to encouraging terrorism after calling for Battersea school to be targeted

Haroon Siddique

Thu 31 May 2018 10.30 BST
Last modified on Thu 31 May 2018 12.30 BST

Husnain Rashid was charged with encouraging terrorism. Photograph: Greater Manchester Police/PA

An Islamic State supporter who posted more than 300,000 propaganda messages online has admitted encouraging would-be lone wolf attackers to target Prince George at school.

The judge, Andrew Lees, warned Husnain Rashid, of Nelson, Lancashire, that he faced “a very lengthy prison sentence” and possibly life in jail after he changed his plea eight days after his trial began at Woolwich crown court.

Rashid, 32, called for the four-year-old heir to the throne to be targeted shortly after the prince joined Thomas’s school in Battersea, south-west London, last year.

On 13 October, he posted a photograph of the school superimposed with silhouettes of two masked jihadist fighters. He sent a follow-up message, which listed the full address, and said: “Even the royal family will not be left alone. School starts early.”

The North-West counter-terrorism unit said he had posted 360,000 messages on 150 different chat threads on Telegram, an online messaging service, between November 2016 and his arrest on 22 November last year. They believe his messages, which also included exhortations to attack UK football stadiums, the 2017 general election, Wimbledon, the Trafford Centre in Manchester and BBC Proms in the Park, may have been viewed by millions of people.

He was charged with three counts of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts, one count of encouraging terrorism, two of dissemination of a terrorist publication and one of failing to comply with a notice under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. He initially denied all counts. The prosecution opened its case on 23 May, with proceedings expected to last six weeks. But on Thursday he changed his plea.

Jurors were absent when the prosecutor, Annabel Darlow, asked that Rashid be re-indicted on four of the counts. He pleaded guilty to all. The prosecutor then asked the judge to lay the remaining charges on file, as the dissemination charges were subsumed by the charges he had admitted to and it was not in the public interest to proceed to trial on the basis of the final charge alone.

Husnain Rashid in court. Photograph: Elizabeth Cook/PA

Lees, who will pass sentence on 28 June, told the defendant: “For the past week I have listened to the most disturbing allegations ... It is inevitable that you will receive a very lengthy prison sentence and there will be a consideration of a life prison sentence.

“The question of your future dangerousness and the protection of the public is a matter that I will have to give very careful consideration.”

Other targets Rashid had urged people to attack were British army bases, Jewish communities, the Russian World Cup, the Easter parade at the Vatican, tourist spots and train stations across Europe. He encouraged followers to deploy a variety of methods, including injecting cyanide into fruit and vegetables at grocery stores and calling for ice-cream to be poisoned.

Incensed by the treatment of Muslims in Burma, on 1 December 2016, he posted a picture of the Burmese ambassador, Kyaw Zwar Minn, with the address of the embassy and a message saying: “Set an example … If you can’t go Burma and help your brothers then deal with the kuffs [kuffars, meaning non-believers] in your back yard.”

On 1 November 2017 (when it was still 31 October in the US), Rashid wrote: “New York Halloween Parade Have you made your preparations? The countdown begins!! #JUST_TERROR.” A terrorist attack had in fact been committed earlier in the day in New York by Sayfullah Saipov, who drove a truck into pedestrians, killing eight and injuring others.

Darlow said the overarching aim of his activities was to provide an “e-toolkit for terrorism”. In one of the defendant’s online posts he suggested dropping a smoke grenade “to cause panic”. He wrote: “You will be enjoying taking them down one after the other #terrorizethekuffar.”

In another message, he wrote: “No need to board trains. Just get to the train station. Then, in the name of Allah, get busy!” The words were followed by emoticons of a bomb and a knife dripping blood.

He detailed various methods of murder, including use of knives, homemade bombs, poison, vehicles and Krav Maga, a martial art employed by Israeli military forces.

As well as the online messages, Rashid, who taught at the Muhammadi mosque, had started producing a glossy magazine called Lone Mujahid, the same name as one of his Telegram channels, and similar to the al-Qaida publication Inspire. He distributed the latter and researched travelling to Syria to fight for Isis.

When he was arrested by police, he threw a phone over a wall; the phone was found to contain a “treasure trove” of evidence.

There was no evidence that anyone acted on his posts. Rashid, who lived with his two brothers and their elderly parents, was not known to police and had no previous convictions.

°°°

Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-lancashire-44313868


Man who urged Prince George attack admits terror charges

31.05.18 1 hour ago


Image
copyright Police handout
Image caption Husnain Rashid faces a lengthy sentence, the judge has warned him

An Islamic State supporter who called for jihadis to attack Prince George has admitted a string of terror charges.

Husnain Rashid, 32, of Leonard Street in Nelson, Lancashire, brought his trial at Woolwich Crown Court to a halt with a dramatic change of plea.

Nearly two weeks into his trial Rashid was re-indicted and pleaded guilty to three counts of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts.

He also admitted one count of encouraging terrorism.

Rashid will be sentenced on 28 June at the same court for the offences spanning from October 2016 to April this year.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Husnain Rashid shared Prince George’s photograph in tips for would-be attackers

Judge Andrew Lees told the defendant: “For the past week I have listened to the most disturbing allegations.”You have admitted these allegations of encouraging others to commit terrorist activities and publishing statements to encourage the killing of others.

“It is inevitable that you will receive a very lengthy prison sentence and there will be a consideration of a life prison sentence.”

He added: “The question of your future dangerousness and the protection of the public is a matter that I will have to give very careful consideration.”
Football attack

On 13 October Rashid used a Telegram chat group to call on supporters to target the four-year-old Prince George who had started school at Thomas’s Battersea in south-west London a month earlier.

Prosecutors said Rashid was encouraging terrorism by posting a photograph of the prince at the school super-imposed with silhouettes of two masked jihad fighters.

Last week, prosecutor Annabel Darlow told the court “the underlying message was clear” that “Prince George and other members of the royal family should be viewed as targets”.

“Even the royal family will not be left alone,” Rashid messaged the group, before sharing the school’s full address and postcode.

He added: “School starts early.”

A magazine he was producing contained suggestions to strike the 2018 World Cup in Russia using vehicles, weapons or bombs.

He also posted suggestions of which British football stadiums terrorists could strike following a deadly attack outside Besiktas’s ground in Turkey, his trial heard.

He ran a “prolific” Telegram channel named the Lone Mujahid where he provided an “e-toolkit for terrorism”, the prosecution said.

This allegedly included a recipe for the poison ricin and instructions for making petrol bombs and napalm.

His list of targets included British Army bases, shopping centres, Jewish communities and government buildings.

He also plotted with a British terrorist in Syria to bring down an aircraft with lasers, the court heard.

’Treasure trove’

Rashid posted a photograph of the Burmese ambassador to the UK, saying: “You know what to do.”

He urged others to “fight and spill the blood to the apes in your land” and called for others to “start preparing tools and weapons/explosives”.

Ms Darlow said on the first day of the trial: “His proposals were indiscriminate and made no distinction between adult and child, between members of fighting forces and civilians.”

When police swooped on his house in November, Rashid “hurled” a phone containing a “treasure trove” of evidence over a wall into an alleyway.

Two charges of dissemination of a terrorist publication and one of failing to comply with a notice under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act will lie on file.