Usman Khan, the London Bridge attacker who was shot dead on Friday after killing two people, planned to set up a Madrasa and terror training camp near a mosque in Pakistan, and wanted to have ‘first hand terrorist experience’ in Jammu and Kashmir before returning to the UK.
Details of Khan’s plans and those of his accomplices were set out in a 2012 judgement at the Woolwich Crown Court, which jailed him for eight years. Khan, who wanted to set up the camp on land owned by his family and spent late teen years in Pakistan, was released on licence in December 2018, wearing an electronic tag.
Targets discussed by Khan and his accomplices based in London and Cardiff included Boris Johnson, who was then the mayor of London, the London Stock Exchange, and unleashing a Mumbai-style attack in the parliament complex in Westminster.
Judge Alan Wilkie said: “The long, monitored, discussions of Usman Khan about the madrassa and his attitudes towards it and terrorism are highly eloquent of the seriousness of their purpose”.
“It is clear that this was a serious, long term, venture in terrorism the purpose of which was to establish and manage a terrorist training facility at the Madrassa, to fundraise for its construction and operation by the use of various means, including fraud, and to recruit young British Muslims to go there and train, thereafter being available to commit terrorism abroad and at home”.
“Usman Khan and Nazam Hussain were to obtain that training and were, thereafter, to obtain first hand terrorist experience in Kashmir”. Their plots were busted after intelligence agency MI5 tracked Khan and his accomplices before their arrest in December 2010.
Releasing the identity of the London Bridge attacker early on Saturday , Neil Basu of Scotland Yard said: “We are now in a position to confirm the identity of the suspect as 28-year-old Usman Khan (10.03.1991), who had been residing in the Staffordshire area”.
“This individual was known to authorities, having been convicted in 2012 for terrorism offences. He was released from prison in December 2018 on licence and clearly, a key line of enquiry now is to establish how he came to carry out this attack”.
David Anderson, independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, noted Khan’s involvement in the plots in a report in July 2013. Based in Stoke-on-Trent, Khan was part of plots involving individuals in Cardiff and London.
Anderson reported: “Two London-based men (Mohammed Chowdhury and Abdul Miah) and two from Cardiff (Shah Rahman and Gurukanth Desai) formed a number of plans for attacks including possible attacks against the London Stock Exchange”.
“Linked to this cell were three men from Stoke (Usman Khan, Nazam Hussain, Mohammed Shahjahan) who travelled to the FATA and planned to fund, construct and take part in a terrorist training camp in Kashmir, with a view to carrying out terrorist acts in the future”.
“Two others were involved in discussions with the group and possessed copies of the Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula [AQAP] produced English language extremist magazine, Inspire. They also considered putting multiple letter bombs in the post”.