LONDON – Jurors saw video Thursday of a man accused of plotting to blow up trans-Atlantic aircraft praising Usama bin Laden and vowing to wage a holy war against nonbelievers.
Umar Islam, 29, made the comments in a video found in the trunk of a car belonging to another suspect. Prosecutors say it was a suicide video intended to be viewed after his death.
Islam and seven others are charged with plotting to detonate bombs aboard airliners bound from London to the United States and Canada using explosives concealed in soft drink bottles. Prosecutors say they were close to carrying out their plan when they were arrested in August 2006. The men deny the charges.
Islam's 19-minute video was shown to the jury at Woolwich Crown Court for the first time Thursday. Clips of it and other alleged "martyrdom" videos made by several other suspects were played in court last week.
In his video, Islam — formerly known as Brian Young — says there is "an obligation on me as a Muslim to wage jihad against the Kuffar," or nonbeliever.
"This is revenge for the actions of the USA in the Muslim lands and their accomplices such as the British and the Jews," he says.
Speaking in front of a black flag covered in Arabic writing, Islam says Allah "loves us to die and kill in his path."
"To (Taliban leader) Mullah Omar and Sheikh Osama and the brothers, keep on going, keep on remaining firm, but truly you have inspired many of the Muslims and you have inspired me personally to follow the true path of the prophet," he says.
Islam; Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 27; Assad Sarwar, 27; Tanvir Hussain, 27; Mohammed Gulzar, 26; Ibrahim Savant, 27; Arafat Waheed Khan, 26; and Waheed Zaman, 23, are accused of conspiracy to murder and endangering the safety of an aircraft. Both charges carry maximum sentences of life imprisonment.
Major disruption was caused to British airports and hundreds of flights were grounded after police arrested the suspects in August 2006. Prosecutors say the airline cell planned to assemble the alleged bombs in jetliner toilets using hydrogen peroxide-based explosives smuggled on board by injecting them into soft drinks bottles.
Airlines quickly imposed tough new limits on the amount of liquids and gels — and types of carryon luggage — passengers could take on flights.
Prosecutors say the suspects had identified seven specific flights from London's Heathrow airport to Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Washington, Toronto and Montreal, although no specific date had been selected.