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Britain foils plot to bomb Downing St, kill PM May

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LONDON: A20-year-old man appeared in court on Wednesday charged with plotting to assassinate British Prime Minister Theresa May in a bomb and knife attack.

Naa’imur Zakariyah Rahman’s plan allegedly involved planting a bomb near the entrance of Downing Street and then continuing the attack with a knife and suicide vest in a bid to kill the UK leader in the ensuing chaos.

State prosecutor Mark Carroll said Rahman planned to detonate an improvised explosive device at the Downing Street gates, then, in the ensuing chaos, try to enter the building “with a view to trying to kill the prime minister”. Rahman planned to use a suicide vest, pepper spray and a knife for the attack, Carroll told Westminster Magistrates Court in London.

Rahman had carried out hostile reconnaissance of the area as part of his preparation, it is alleged. Rahman is charged with preparing terrorist acts and also with assisting another man, Mohammad Aqib Imran, to prepare separate terror acts. He appeared in court alongside Imran, 21, who is accused of trying to join the Islamic State (IS) terror group by trying to obtain a fake passport with a view to travelling to Libya.

Rahman had two inert improvised explosive devices on his person when he was detained, prosecutors said, while Imran had a copy of a video that had been recorded by Rahman. They were arrested separately on November 28.

Rahman spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth. He said he was of no fixed abode and said his nationality was “Bangladeshi British. I’m Bangladeshi.” Imran said he was “Pakistani British.” They both appeared wearing grey tracksuits. Chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot remanded Rahman and Imran in custody to appear for a hearing at England’s Old Bailey criminal court on December 20.

The latest plot emerges as a new report released this week found that the UK’s security services could have prevented a suicide attack at the Manchester Arena in May. Bomber Salman Abedi killed 22 people when he blew himself up outside American singer Ariana Grande’s concert in Manchester.

Meanwhile in an earlier separate case in the same courtroom, Husnain Rashid, 31, faced charges of helping would-be terrorists prepare attacks, including by sharing a photo of prince George and his school address on social media. Arbuthnot also remanded Rashid in custody to appear at the Old Bailey court.

The court appearances came a day after home secretary Amber Rudd told parliament that 22 Islamist terror plots had been thwarted since the killing of a British soldier on a London street by two extremists in 2013.

Updated: December 7, 2017 — 2:00 am

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