Accused was preparing for attack on military personnel in UK, court told


An alleged Islamic extremist planned a terror attack on British or American military personnel in the UK, a court has heard.

Junead Khan, 25, drove close by air bases in East Anglia, including the US Air Force's RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall complexes in Suffolk, while working as a delivery driver, prosecutors claim.

When he was arrested, al Qaida instructions on how to make a "viable" pipe bomb and pictures of a large military-style knife were found on his laptop and a balaclava was found at his Luton home, the jury was told.

Prosecutor Max Hill QC told Kingston Crown Court that Khan was "preparing for an attack on British forces or American soldiers or airmen" when he was arrested last July.

Mr Hill told the jury: "You may conclude that by arresting Junead Khan on July 7, what happened at that moment was that his plans were therefore, we suggest, thwarted. He was not able to carry out what he wanted to do. But that makes him no less guilty of the charge."

Khan is charged with making preparations for attacking military personnel in the UK between May 10 and July 14, which he denies.

He is on trial alongside his uncle, Shazib Khan, 23, also from Luton, with whom he is jointly charged with making preparations for travelling to Syria to fight for Islamic State (IS).

The pair deny engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts on August 1 2014 and July 15 2015.

The trial heard that Junead Khan was working as a driver for pharmaceutical firm Alliance Healthcare when he was arrested at its depot in Letchworth, Hertfordshire.

Mr Hill added that Junead Khan's work "meant that he was required to make deliveries of pharmaceuticals to locations in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk", which took him near places "in which there were American air force personnel".

When police raided his home they found a laptop containing an article called "Make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom", from the online magazine of al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). It gave instructions for the construction of a "viable" pipe bomb, the jury was told.

Officers also found black flags in the attic with Islamic slogans of the type used by IS jihadists, the court heard, and pictures on his phone and laptop that showed him posing in front of them in his bedroom.

US and British flags believed to have been stolen from the New York Diner in nearby Dunstable were also found in the bedroom, the jury was told.

Police officers from Bedfordshire Police's Prevent programme visited Junead Khan in May 2014, more than a year before his arrest, the jury heard.

However, the officers left a card after finding he was at work. The court heard the men joked about the visit, and subsequent visits, in social media chats.

In another chat, the jury was told, Junead Khan said to his uncle: "Jihad training bro LOL, we have to keep fit."

He also possessed a "nasheed" or Islamic prayer in praise of Islamic State and the men celebrated at the end of June 2014 when the Islamic State caliphate was declared, the jury heard, with Junead Khan writing: "Inshallah give them victory."

Mr Hill said: "The idea of leaving the UK in order to go to IS is clearly in the defendants' minds ... at the declaration of the Islamic State in June 2014. It becomes clear that was not to be a pilgrimage. It was not to be a trip to live in peace under Islam. It was a trip to fight."

Mr Hill said that the following July the defendants watched a graphic IS "recruitment" video, The Clanging Of The Swords, which has "little if anything to do with living a peaceful existence in the caliphate but has everything to do with fighting and killing".

Detectives also discovered items of clothing at Junead Khan's home - into which Shazib Khan had moved - which prosecutors claim show the men had planned to go to Syria.

Evidence was also discovered of a social media chat between Shazib Khan and a Jewish woman, in which he said the Jews were "baby killers" and "infidels in our Holy Land" in reference to the Israel-Palestine conflict, the court heard.

Later, after watching another IS propaganda video, Shazib Khan wrote to Junead Khan: "I want to wear the black outfit. Looks sick."

Edited versions of both videos were shown to the jury.

Shazib Khan later exchanged messages on the Kik social network with a man the prosecution claim is an IS fighter, who told him how to get to its territory via Turkey, the court heard.