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Jurors see 'suicide' video in airplane terror trial

/ Source: The Associated Press

Jurors on Monday watched a video in which a man accused of plotting to blow up trans-Atlantic aircraft warned Western nations: "The time has come for you to be destroyed."

Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 27, made the remarks in what prosecutors say was a suicide video intended to be seen after his death. In it, he says he is "over the moon that Allah has given me the opportunity to lead this blessed operation."

Ali and seven other British Muslims are charged with plotting to detonate bombs aboard North America-bound airliners using liquid explosives concealed in soft drink bottles. Prosecutors say they were close to carrying out their plan when they were arrested in August 2006. The men deny the charges.

Ali's 16-minute video is the latest in a series of alleged "martyrdom" recordings to be played during the suspects' trial in London. Prosecutors say Ali was one of the ringleaders of a plot that could have killed hundreds or even thousands of people.

"This the opportunity to punish and humiliate the kuffar (unbelievers), to teach them a lesson they will never forget," Ali says in the video.

Ali attacks British and U.S. foreign policy for "slaughtering our people" in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories. Speaking of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, he says: "Sheikh Osama warned you many times to leave our lands or you will be destroyed, and now the time has come for you to be destroyed."

Ali; Umar Islam, 29; Assad Sarwar, 27; Tanvir Hussain, 27; Mohammed Gulzar, 26; Ibrahim Savant, 27; Arafat Waheed Khan, 26; and Waheed Zaman, 23, are accused of conspiracy to murder and endangering the safety of an aircraft. Both charges carry maximum sentences of life imprisonment.

The suspects' arrest in August 2006 sparked major disruption to British airports, with hundreds of flights grounded. Prosecutors say the men planned to assemble bombs in airplane toilets using hydrogen peroxide-based explosives smuggled on board by injecting them into soft drinks bottles.

Airlines quickly imposed tough new limits on the amount of liquids and gels — and types of carry-on luggage — passengers could take on flights.

Prosecutors say the suspects had identified seven specific flights from London's Heathrow airport to Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Washington, Toronto and Montreal, although no specific date had been selected for the attack.