LONDON – Two British men who joined anti-government militants in Syria pleaded guilty Tuesday to preparing acts of terrorism.
Friends Mohammed Nahin Ahmed and Yusuf Zubair Sarwar, who are both 22, spent eight months in the war-torn country last year after contacting jihadi militants over the Internet. They were arrested at Heathrow Airport when they returned in January. Police found photos of the pair with guns on a digital camera, as well as traces of military explosives on their clothing and shoes.
Judge Michael Topolski said the men "carefully planned a journey from the U.K. to Turkey and on to Syria to join Islamist rebels fighting the regime of Bashar al-Assad." They will be sentenced at a later date.
Authorities say hundreds of Britons have traveled to Syria and fought alongside extremist militants. Intelligence officials fear some may bring terrorism back to Britain when they return.
In a separate case, a British woman went on trial Tuesday accused of trying to smuggle 20,000 euros ($27,200) in her underwear to militants fighting in Syria.
Prosecutors say 26-year-old Nawal Msaad from north London had agreed to be a courier for her friend and co-defendant, Amal el-Wahabi, 27.
Prosecutors say el-Wahabi's husband, who is believed to be fighting in Syria, wanted the money to be taken to Turkey to support the jihadi fighters.
Police arrested Msaad at Heathrow Airport in January as she was preparing to board a flight to Turkey. El-Wahabi was arrested the same day.