Man convicted of planning IS-inspired attack in London

AP News
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Posted: Dec 14, 2015 12:28 PM

LONDON (AP) — A British man arrested days before an annual national war commemoration has been convicted of planning an Islamic State group-inspired knife attack in London.

Nadir Syed was arrested on Nov. 6, 2014, three days before Remembrance Sunday, amid fears that extremists were planning an attack on police or soldiers at a war memorial event.

Prosecutors said 22-year-old Syed was obsessed with beheadings and the killing of British solider Lee Rigby, who was stabbed to death on a London street in 2013 by two British men inspired by al-Qaida.

He tried to go to Syria in early 2014 but was prevented from leaving the country, and prosecutors said he was inspired by the words of an IS leader who urged attacks on Western targets.

Prosecutor Max Hill said the IS fatwa "inspired the defendant to plan his own attack in this country, emulating the attack on Lee Rigby." Hill said the timing, just before Remembrance Sunday, was "no coincidence." Syed recorded a video showing himself stamping on a poppy, the symbol of wartime remembrance, indicating his "attitude to the poppy as the remembrance image in this country," the prosecutor said.

Syed was arrested shortly after buying a foot-long (30 centimeter-long) chef's knife. He denied planning an attack and claimed the knife was meant as a gift for his mother.

Syed was convicted Wednesday at London's Woolwich Crown Court after a jury had deliberated for more than 50 hours. The verdict couldn't be reported until Monday because the jury was still deliberating on two other defendants.

Jurors failed to reach a verdict on suspects Haseeb Hamayoon, 29, and Syed's 20-year-old cousin Yousaf Syed. The two men face a retrial. Nadir Syed will be sentenced at a later date.