Two charged with plotting Islamist terror attack on British Jews

Westminster magistrates' court
Westminster magistrates' court

Two men have appeared in court accused of plotting to carry out an Islamic State-inspired marauding gun attack against the Jewish community in the north-west of England.

Walid Saadaoui, 36, and Amar Hussein, 50, were arrested at addresses in Wigan and Bolton last week. They were also allegedly planning to target police officers and members of the military.

They appeared at Westminster magistrates’ court on Tuesday charged with the preparation of terrorist acts between Dec 13 2023 and May 9 this year..

Bilel Saadaoui, 35, also appeared before the court accused of knowing about his brother Walid’s plans. He pleaded not guilty to a charge of failing to disclose information about an act of terrorism between the same dates.

‘Intention to cause fatalities’

Rebecca Waller, prosecuting, told the court: “Mr Saadoui and Mr Hussein, are said to have planned a Daesh [Islamic State]-inspired terrorist attack in the UK during which they intended to cause multiple fatalities using automatic weapons.

“The main targets of their attack plans were the Jewish community in the north-west of England and members of both law enforcement and military.

“Both defendants took significant steps to prepare, and by May 2024 had reached the point at which, they believed, they were in a position in which they were ready to launch the attack. Bilel Saadoui is Walid Saadoaui’s younger brother.

“The evidence the Crown say indicates that Bilel Saadaoui was the trusted confidant for his brother knowing he was making plans.”

Bilel Saadaoui was allegedly given his brother’s will along with £17,000 in cash and was also given a key for a safe containing £75,000.

District Judge Louisa Ciecora remanded the three defendants in custody ahead of a preliminary hearing at the Old Bailey on May 24.

Bilel Saadoaui wept as he was led from the dock by five police officers.

‘Distressing details’

Asst Chief Constable Rob Pott, from Greater Manchester Police, said the details of the case “will be understandably distressing and likely to have a significant impact on the communities within Greater Manchester and beyond”.

In a statement, he added: “Everyone should feel safe in our region regardless of their religion or race. We have been working closely with community groups and key stakeholders to address concerns and we will continue to update them throughout this case.

“Local officers across Greater Manchester will continue to listen and act on concerns alongside partners to protect the public and keep you safe.

“The action we have taken so far follows a long-running and carefully managed investigation, and we do not believe that there is a wider risk to the public connected to this case.

“Should you have any concerns about your safety or any suspicious activity in your area, then I would encourage you to contact the police.”

Amanda Bomsztyk, northern regional director of the Community Security Trust, a charity focused on the safety of Britain’s Jewish community,  said: “These are very serious allegations of a plan to commit a terrorist attack against British Jews at a time of record anti-Semitic hate crime levels. This is one of a number of recent and ongoing cases that demonstrate why the Jewish community needs such extensive security measures and why our continuing partnership with police and government is so vital.

“CST thanks Greater Manchester Police and other agencies for their work in this case, and we will continue to work closely with police to provide reassurance and protection for the Jewish community. We urge everyone in the community to continue as normal, remain alert and report any anti-Semitism or suspicious activity at Jewish locations to CST and to the police.”