London, Aug. 21: The 17-year-old youth, said to be the son of Muslim parents from India, was among 11 people charged today over the plot to blow up trans-Atlantic aircraft.
A senior Scotland Yard officer said police had found “martyrdom videos” as well as bomb-making equipment.
Of the 23 in custody, eight have been charged with two offences of conspiracy to murder and a new offence of preparing acts of terrorism under the Terrorism Act 2006.
They were named as: Ahmed Abdullah Ali, Tanvir Hussain, Umar Islam, Arafat Waheed Khan, Assad Ali Sarwar, Adam Khatib, Ibrahim Savant and Waheed Aman.
Another three have been charged with offences under the Terrorism Act 2000.
One of them is Abdul Muneem Patel, 17, from Clapton, east London, who is said to be the son of Muslim parents from India though this has not been confirmed.
The charge alleges that on a day between October 1, 2005, and August 10, 2006, he had in his possession a book on “improvised explosives devices, some suicide notes and wills with the identities of the persons prepared to commit acts of terrorism and a map of Afghanistan containing information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism”.
The two others were identified as a woman, Cossar Ali, and a man, Mehran Hussain.
Susan Hemming, head of the Crown Prosecution Service Counter Terrorism Division, said: “We have been carefully examining and assessing the evidence against each individual with the assistance of anti-terrorist officers in order to come to charging decisions at the earliest practicable opportunity.”
The decision to charge was taken today with the approval of the director of public prosecutions, she added. Peter Clarke, deputy assistant commissioner at Scotland Yard, revealed that the investigation was being conducted even before the so-called tip off from Pakistan.
He said: “First there is evidence from surveillance carried out before August 10. This includes important, indeed highly significant, video and audio recordings. Since August 10, we have found bomb-making equipment. There are chemicals, including hydrogen peroxide, electrical components, documents and other items.”
He went on: “We have also found a number of video recordings. These are sometimes referred to as martyrdom videos.”
Clarke provided a surprising amount of detail: “There have been 69 searches. These have been in houses, flats and business premises, vehicles and open spaces.”
During their searches, police had removed more than 400 computers, 200 mobile telephones and 8,000 computer media items such as memory sticks, CDs and DVDs. Experts had removed 6,000 gigabytes of data from the seized computers.
Clarke added: “The investigation is far from complete. The scale is immense. Inquiries will span the globe.”
It is understood Scotland Yard officers have flown to Pakistan. “The enormity of the alleged plot will be matched only by our determination to follow every lead and line of inquiry.”
He concluded: “I would like to reassure the public that we are doing everything we can to keep you safe — for you to live your lives without being in constant fear. However, we must be realistic. The threat from terrorism is real. It is here, it is deadly and it is enduring.”
Scotland Yard appear to be doing all the things that their Mumbai counterparts have failed to do either before or after the train massacre.