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File photo of Shepherds Bush Police Station on Uxbridge Road, London, one of the locations Tarik Hassane carried out "hostile reconnaissance". PA Wire/Press Association Images

Men who plotted Islamic State-inspired drive-by shootings in UK are jailed

They were going to target soldiers and police in drive-by shootings.

TWO MEN INSPIRED by the Islamic State (IS) group who plotted drive-by shootings in London targeting soldiers and police have received life sentences at a British court.

Ringleader Tarik Hassane, 22, will serve a minimum of 21 years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to murder and preparation of terrorist acts.

Suhaib Majeed, a 22-year-old physics student, will be in jail for at least 20 years after conviction on the same charges last month.

Potential targets

London’s Old Bailey court heard that Hassane had identified potential targets including a police station and an army reserve barracks, both in west London.

Acting on his instructions, Majeed had acquired a gun and ammunition and was discussing the purchase of a moped before his arrest in 2014.

Passing sentence, Judge Alan Wilkie said it was “shocking” that two men educated in Britain “should be so influenced by the bloodthirsty version of Islam presented by ISIS and other similarly minded groups, that you decided to take up arms against your fellow British citizens”.

Hassane, who studied medicine in Sudan and was nicknamed “The Surgeon”, had admitted visiting Syria in 2013 and learning how to handle guns, the judge said.

He raised thousands of pounds to support violent acts in Syria, Wilkie added.

In his confession, Hassane said he was in a “bubble” when he had plotted the attacks, adding:

I really doubt I could have ever done this.

The two men were said to have links to the west London mosque attended by Mohammed Emwazi, the IS figure known as Jihadi John who appeared in a string of execution videos before being killed in a drone strike in Syria last year.

Evolved and complex plot

Commander Dean Haydon, head of the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism command, told reporters at a briefing in March that their plot had “evolved and become more complex than other attacks we’ve seen here in the UK in recent years involving Daesh,” another term for IS.

“This is about acquiring a moped, committing a drive-by shooting, acquiring a firearm, a silencer and ammunition, and in almost broad daylight targeting police officers and the military and members of the public and making good their escape,” Haydon added.

Prime Minister David Cameron said in December that British security services had foiled seven plots in the previous year.

- © AFP, 2016

Read: Three children killed in Turkey by Islamic State rocket fire>

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