EVIL CLERIC LINKED TO PLOT
By Rob Kellaway
Police investigating a terrorist plot intended “to out-do 7/7” have uncovered the first al-Qaeda training camp in Britain.
It was being run at an Islamic school in the sleepy Sussex countryside.
Fourteen Muslims arrested over the alleged plot to take out a London landmark are linked to terror camps run in the school’s grounds, hidden from unwitting staff.
One of the 14 is hate cleric Abu Abdullah. Dubbed Attila The Scum, he is hook-handed monster Abu Hamza's No 2.
Abdullah, 42, who was born and bred in Britain, was detained just days after stating he would “love” to kill British troops in Afghanistan.
He is regarded by anti-terror detectives as a key figure in their investigation into a plot which an intelligence source said would “out-do 7/7.”
The arrests came after a nine-month surveillance operation involving MI5, which centred on suspects visiting the Jameah Islameah Islamic school in picturesque Catt’s Hill, near Crowborough.
Police took action on Friday night when the group gathered together at a Chinese restaurant called The Bridge To China Town in Borough Road, south London.
Owner Mehdi Belyani, 40, said the detained men were among a group of around 15 males and two small boys who came in for dinner.
He said some wore Islamic dress and they were talking quietly and acting normally while they ate from the restaurant buffet. Some he recognised as regular customers.
Mr Belyani said some armed officers and more than 50 others wearing helmets came into his restaurant at 10pm and kept the suspects and all the other customers inside.
He said: “The police stayed for more than two hours talking to the group one by one. The men were very calm and I could not hear what was being said.”
Ross Jackson, 18, who lives opposite, said: “There were about eight police vans and a large number of police in riot gear. There were police cars lined up on the street.”
At 10pm eight men were arrested at the restaurant. Three who had already left - including Abdullah - were arrested around the corner in Lancaster Street.
At the same time, another suspect - Bilbert Teye Baiden - was held in King James Street. Mousa Aboullah Brown, 40, was grabbed on Kitchener Road, E17, while Saloum Joh, 20, was held in Bessborough Road, SW15.
The men, mostly British Muslims of Pakistani origin aged 17 to 48, were being held at Paddington Green high security police station.
Security sources said the investigation was focusing on terror training and alleged recruitment and radicalisation of young British Muslims.
They believe the group was still in the early stages of planning the twisted attack on a famous London attraction.
Possible targets are thought to include Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Canary Wharf or the Arsenal and Chelsea football stadiums.
Detectives believe more than half of those arrested in London had visited the Islamic school more than once.
The school, which has just 12 pupils in a £3 million former convent, frequently allowed outside groups to use its 54 acres of grounds at weekends.
The arrested men stayed in the school and used the grounds for “combat” training.
A Home Office source said: “The training was extreme and macho. It involved endurance in bad weather and bonding. In that sense it was like combat training.”
The source added: “They were being groomed for terror.”
Neither the owner, principal or any member of the staff of the school had any idea that fanatics were among their visitors.
Indeed, when Abu Hamza once turned up, the school’s authorities were so alarmed they banned him from coming again and handed over a letter expressing his views to police.
The school’s Imam Bilal Patel said: “When Hamza arrived we were immediately concerned about his strange behaviour. He and his followers set up camp in the grounds and they kept themselves to themselves.
“We had to tell Abu Hamza that we did not want him to come back again because he was strange. He had given me a letter explaining some of his views and I passed that on to the local police.”
One man who lives 500 yards from the school said: “Busloads of young Muslims would turn up on a Sunday in several red London buses, stay for a few hours and then leave.”
The man, who asked not to be identified, added: “No one ever knew what went on inside. Everything was extremely hush-hush. There seemed to be an unwritten rule that no-one ever spoke about what went on inside.”
Abdullah, real name Attila Ahmet, is a former spokesman for hook-handed Hamza, who was jailed for seven years in February for inciting his followers to murder non-muslims.
The No 2 is reviled for his anti-Western rants and for his hatred of Jews and gays.
He took over as the self-styled “emir” or leader of the extremist Supporters Of Shariah founded by Hamza at the notorious Finsbury Park Mosque in north London.
He was accused of taking control of the mosque when it reopened in August 2004 by using violence and intimidation but was evicted in February last year.
And Abdullah — who once said of Osama Bin Laden “I love him more than myself” - is banned from preaching in most mosques but claims to have 3,000 supporters.
He spreads his twisted messages at small-scale meetings to specially invited “students” in private houses and community centres.
Those views include supporting the use of household chemicals to make explosives.
He also believes Tony Blair is a legitimate target for assassination due to the government’s foreign policy. His view of the 9/11 attacks is that they were a “deserved punch in the nose” for America.
Abdullah converted to Islam eight years ago. His hardline views seem a world away from his upbringing.
He was born and bred in London, the son of Turkish-Cypriot parents. He was a football coach in the Bexley youth league, and was known to colleagues as Alan. The married father-of-four lives with his family in a terraced former council house in south-east London.
Two weeks ago he was asked what he thought of the 7/7 suicide bombers. He replied: “I wasn’t against them. These are my honourable brothers in Islam.”
He described the Tube and bus bombs in which 52 innocent people died, as a wake-up call. And he has said: “Sometimes the innocent have to pay the price.”
Abdullah also claimed suicide attacks are “halal”, or lawful.
He added: “The martyr that goes amongst his enemies is going to shield his people. He doesn’t have weapons of mass destruction, he only has household chemicals.”
Referring to Iraq and Afghanistan he said: “The West is escalating their killing of Muslims. We have a right to defend ourselves. If I had the means to go back there and kill an American or British soldier then I would love to do so.
“Those who are fighting Islam are targets: Tony Blair, the army, the police.”
Asked if he shared the view of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Israel should be wiped off the map, he replied: “Absolutely. They are a treacherous people.”
He also said President Bush was “a scalp that needs to be taken.”
Speaking on the CNN news channel, Abdullah claimed the deaths of the 9/11 victims were “a drop in the ocean compared to the millions of Muslims that have been killed.”