LONDON, (Reuters) – A Tanzanian-born militant who dubbed himself “Osama bin London” was jailed for 7-1/2 years on Friday after being found guilty of encouraging his followers to murder non-Muslims and of running terrorist training camps.
Mohammed Hamid, 50, who came to England when he was five, was convicted by a London court last month.
A second man, Atilla Ahmet, 43, who once boasted of being al Qaeda’s top figure in Europe, was sentenced to 6 years and 11 months after admitting three charges of soliciting murder. Their trial was closely watched in Britain as Hamid was an inspiration for the men who tried to carry out botched suicide bombings on London’s transport system on July 21, 2005, two weeks after 52 civilians were killed by four suicide bombers in a similar attack in the capital.
Prosecutors said Ahmet and Hamid organised terrorism training disguised as camping or paintballing trips in rural locations around Britain.
An undercover officer heard a conversation in which Hamid boasted of wanting to carry a murderous attack, saying he wanted to kill more than 52. “Fifty-two, that’s not even a breakfast for me,” he said, referring to the 2005 attack toll.
Britain’s top counter-terrorism policeman Peter Clarke said after their convictions: “Hamid and Ahmet are dangerous people who between them carried out the recruitment, grooming and terrorist training of young men.”
Their trial heard that when Hamid was once briefly detained in October 2004 at a stall in the capital’s Oxford Street shopping area, he told police he was “Osama bin London” and claimed to have a bomb. He and Ahmet were arrested in London in September 2006 after a months-long intelligence operation.