US Terrorist-Turned-Informant Testifies in UK 'Radioactive Bomb' Case

By Mark Mayne | July 7, 2008 | 8:17 PM EDT

London ( - An American terrorist turned FBI informant testified against terror suspects in a British court Thursday, saying he had spent time in Pakistan with a group of Britons at a terrorist training camp.

Mohammed Junaid Babar, 30, a U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent, pleaded guilty to having links with al Qaeda and other terrorist offences at a New York federal court in 2004.

Two of the charges against him related to what U.S. prosecutors described as a "British bombing plot," prosecutor David Waters QC told a jury at London's Old Bailey.

At terror training camps in Pakistan, Babar helped plot attacks on the U.K. with a group of seven British men, supplying them with details to make ammonium nitrate fertilizer bombs, Waters said.

Seven accused Britons appeared in court this week accused of conspiring to cause explosions likely to endanger life between January 2003 and March 2004.

The Old Bailey jury heard earlier that one of the seven was planning to buy a radioactive bomb. The plot was foiled by police and the British secret service, MI5.

One of the accused, Salahuddin Amin, 31, is accused of working for al Qaeda's third-in-command and seeking to buy a nuclear bomb from the Russian mafia in Belgium.

Amin had information passed to him via the Internet about a "radio-isotope bomb" while he was in Pakistan, said the prosecutor. The alleged plot was said to have stemmed from an association with a man named Abu Munthir whom he met via a mosque in Luton, north of London.

Amin later told police he did not believe the offer could be genuine. Waters said: "In his [Amin's] own words he didn't think it was likely that you can go and pick an atomic bomb up and use it."

The extremists also discussed using a huge fertiliser bomb to attack a list of targets, including a shopping mall in Kent visited by 27 million people a year and "the biggest nightclub in central London," the jury heard.

The court was told that they were arrested in March 2004 when plans were in their "final phase."

The previous month they had been recorded on a secret listening device discussing possible bomb targets, including a nightclub and utility facilities, the court was told.

The alleged conspiracy involved remote control detonators and 1,300 pounds of ammonium nitrate fertiliser.

The detonators are alleged to be the work of a Canadian, Momin Khawaja, who has not been charged in Britain but is in custody awaiting trial in Canada next year.

Police recovered emails allegedly written by Khawaja to one of the men on trial. They detailed his efforts in late 2003 and early 2004 to make remote-controlled detonators with electronic transmitters and receivers in his family's Ottawa home. "Then we get fireworks," read one message.

Waters' seven-hour opening address to the court portrayed the Canadian as a "vital" member of the alleged terror cell because of his skills in making the essential detonators.

All seven defendants deny the charges against them. The trial is expected to last five months.

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