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Iraqi doctor guilty in UK bombing plot

A British-Iraqi doctor was convicted Tuesday of conspiracy to murder by plotting bomb attacks last year outside a nightclub in central London and at a crowded airport in Scotland a day later.
Image: Bilal Abdulla
Bilal Abdulla, 29, was found guilty Tuesday of conspiring to murder hundreds of people with car bomb attacks on London and Glasgow.Metropolitan Police via AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

A British-Iraqi doctor who claimed he wanted only to frighten people by setting off explosions was convicted Tuesday of conspiracy to murder by plotting bomb attacks last year in central London and at an airport in Scotland a day later.

Bilal Abdulla, 29, was also convicted on a charge of conspiring to cause explosions.

His co-defendant, Jordanian neurologist Mohammed Asha, 28, was acquitted on the same charges.

Bombs packed in three different vehicles failed to explode in all cases. A third man, Kafeel Ahmed, a 28-year-old Indian who drove an explosives-laden Jeep into Glasgow airport, died of burns sustained in the attack.

London police discovered two Mercedes loaded with explosives on June 29, 2007. One was left near the "Tiger Tiger" nightclub in central London and the other was left at a nearby bus stop. They failed to explode and no one was hurt.

The explosives in both cars were discovered accidentally — one when paramedics saw a car emitting smoke, the other after the car had been towed away for a parking violation.

The incident at Glasgow airport followed the next day. Ahmed tried to drive the Jeep through a pedestrian entrance. When he failed, he lit petrol bombs and set fire to the vehicle.

Angry over violence in Iraq
Abdulla, a Sunni Muslim born in Britain and raised mainly in Iraq who holds dual British-Iraqi citizenship, testified that he was outraged by the violence in Iraq following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

"I wanted the public to taste what is going on, for them to have a taste of what the decisions of their democratically elected murderers did to my people," Abdulla testified.

"I wanted to challenge the government's proposal that war brings peace, that pre-emptive strikes will bring peace to this country," he said.

Abdulla claimed he intended only to frighten Britons.

He will be sentenced later.

Asha has denied taking any part in a plot. Both men were employed by Britain's National Health Service.

Prosecutor Jonathan Laidlaw said a laptop pulled from the wrecked vehicle contained what appeared to be a draft of Abdulla's will. He said the document was addressed to the leaders of jihad in Iraq, to Osama bin Laden, and to the brothers or soldiers of jihad in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Palestine and other areas of the world.

"The terms in which it is written, we submit, expose that the defendant's position in his trial before you is a lie," Laidlaw told jurors.

Laidlaw said the men wanted to commit murder on an "indiscriminate and wholesale scale." Their plans only failed because of a mixture of good fortune and technical mistakes which meant the devices didn't explode, he said.