Britain faces fresh threat from new generation of Qaeda-inspired 'Nike terrorists'

Last Updated: Fri, Feb 22, 2013 06:30 hrs

British security agencies have warned that the UK faces an attack from new generation of self-starting 'Nike terrorists'.

The warning comes after the security services were alarmed over the speed with which a gang of home grown extremists were able to find and gain support for a 9/11-style plot from the "heart of the beast" of al-Qaeda.

According to the Telegraph, the terror cell hoped to kill hundreds of people with eight suicide bombers, armed with guns, in what would have been the worst terrorist outrage on UK soil.

The group leader now faces life imprisonment after being convicted of planning a terror campaign.

But the security and intelligence services are concerned how two of them, with no apparent previous links to al-Qaeda, were able to quickly make contact with the terror group's international arm in northern Pakistan and learn to make bombs and poisons, the report said.

The plot also marked a huge change in the influence of al-Qaeda and the growing threat of self-motivated fanatics nicknamed in the intelligence world as the 'Nike terrorists' because of the sports brand motto 'just do it', the report added.

There are fears a second wave of suicide bombers was already being planned by the Birmingham group.

It raises the prospect of a new generation of British extremists with a desire to kill their fellow citizens using al-Qaeda's expertise for their own ends, the report said.

A senior Whitehall source said that 'this was a very significant investigation. It shows in a different direction how terrorism is affecting the UK'.

Irfan Naseer, 31, Irfan Khalid, 27, and Ashik Ali, 27, were found guilty of planning a terror campaign after a four and a half month trial at Woolwich Crown Court.

The gang was also guilty of raising money for terrorism, after fraudulently raising at least 20,000 pounds in the name of Muslim Aid, and recruiting others for a terror act.

Six other men pleaded guilty to terror offences at earlier hearings and three others await future trials.

Naseer and Khalid were also convicted of travelling to Pakistan for terror training, where they made martyrdom videos to be released by al-Qaeda after they had blown themselves up, it added. (ANI)

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