A U.K. couple who were allegedly plotting a major suicide bombing attack in London have been arrested following the husband’s posting of bomb threats on Twitter.
Prosecutors claim that Mohammed Rehman (25) and Sana Ahmed Khan (24) were ISIS sympathizers who intended to detonate a suicide bomb in a busy mall or on the London underground. The attack was to take place on the tenth anniversary of the deadly 7/7 bombings that saw 52 killed and 770 injured, reports The Guardian.
However, the police foiled the couple’s plans after Rehman made a huge social media blunder by asking his Twitter followers for advice on locations to bomb. The tweet — which was subsequently removed — was posted via Rehman’s glaringly revealing ‘Silent Bomber’ profile. It read: “Westfield shopping centre or London underground? Any advice would be appreciated greatly.”
His maladroit approach to social media aside, Rehman’s intentions were deadly serious. According to prosecutors, the 25-year-old had already purchased chemicals to use as ingredients in assembling a bomb, which he was dangerously close to completing prior to his arrest on May 28. Rehman’s wife, whom he had secretly wed, had provided the funds for the items, which were purchased through eBay. The would-be terrorist’s tweets were spotted by an undercover investigator, who engaged him in a conversation on Twitter. When police were confident his intentions were real, they made their move, pursuing and subsequently arresting Rehman whilst he was in a convenience store.
Although Khan said she was not aware of her husband’s Twitter activity, statements from the police assert that the Internet played a major part in the couple’s radicalization.
Assistant chief constable Laura Nicholson, head of the south-east counter-terrorism unit, said, “It is clear that Rehman and Khan shared a radical and violent extremist ideology. They actively accessed extremist material on the Internet and used social media to develop and share their views as they prepared acts of terrorism.” The couple are due to be sentenced later this week.
[UPDATE: Mohammed Rehman has been sentenced to a minimum of 27 years imprisonment, while Sana Ahmed Khan will serve a minimum of 25 years.]