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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

'Failed suicide bomb' moment shown in London court

Dramatic CCTV footage of the moment an alleged would-be suicide bomber tried to blow up a London Underground train was shown at the trial of six Muslims accused of a failed terrorist attack.

Ramzi Mohammed, 25, was shown boarding the train and turning his back to a mother with a child in a pushchair before allegedly trying, and failing, to detonate a bomb in his rucksack.

Prosecutors say that Mohammed left a suicide note in which he begged Allah to admit him "to the highest station in paradise" and told his son: "We shall meet again in paradise, God willing."

He is one of six men being tried at Britain's highest-security court, accused of hatching an extremist plot to carry out a string of suicide bombings on the capital's public transport system.

Woolwich Crown Court also heard descriptions of the moments other alleged would-be suicide bombers tried to detonate their bombs on July 21, 2005 -- two weeks after 56 people were killed in bombs on the London bus and underground system.

In each case, the detonators fired but the main charge did not go off, the court was told.

"Whilst the train was in the tunnel between the stations, Mohammed turned so that his rucksack was facing the mother and child by him, and fired the bomb," prosecutor Nigel Sweeney said.

"The detonator charged but the main fire did not."

As passengers desperately tried to get away from Mohammed, fireman Angus Campbell remonstrated with him, the minute-long footage showed.

The pair were alone in the carriage and Mohammed dropped the rucksack to the floor and pointed at it repeatedly.

"Mohammed said not that it was a bomb, but rather: 'What's the matter, it is bread, it isn't me, it was that', pointing to the rucksack," Sweeney said.

The train driver carried on to the next station, Oval in south London, and when the doors opened, Mohammed charged onto the platform with passengers chasing after him.

He was shown hurtling up the down escalator, slowing momentarily to get through the exit gates and fleeing the station with several members of the public in pursuit, waving and shouting at him.

In one of the highest-profile cases involving alleged terrorism seen in Britain, the accused deny charges of conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to cause explosions likely to endanger life.

The trial of Mohammed, Muktar Said Ibrahim, 28, Manfo Kwaku Asiedu, 32, Hussain Osman, 28, Yassin Omar, 26, and Adel Yahya, 24, all originally from Africa, is expected to take up to four months.

The court was told that passengers on Osman's intended target train heard a loud bang and saw him being thrown to the floor as a yellow foam-like substance spilled out from his rucksack.

The train stopped and he clambered out of a window and ran through a nearby house as he fled the scene, jurors heard.

On another train, Omar, who apparently shouted out in pain as he detonated his device, may have been thrown in the air by the force of it firing, Sweeney said.

As Omar escaped, one witness reported seeing a hole in the back of his T-shirt from which two 20cm (eight inch) wires were protruding, he added.

The train alarm was activated and Omar tried to flee amid scenes of "terror and panic", the lawyer said, adding that one witness noticed he had dried, peeling skin and white stains on his hands.

As he fled the station, Omar allegedly approached two women in traditional Muslim dress and asked one to take him to her home.

"When she declined, he said words to the effect of: 'What kind of Muslim are you, not helping another Muslim?'" Sweeney said.

Ibrahim sat on the upper deck of a number 26 bus and detonated his bomb as it passed through Shoreditch High Street in east London, the court heard.

On Monday, the opening day of the case, the group were alleged to have made bombs out of chapati flour, hydrogen peroxide, acetone and acid, and packed with nails and screws to maximise "devastation".

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