Receive up-to-the-minute news updates on the hottest topics with NewsHub. Install now.

Home-grown Jihadis dubbed the 'Turnup Terror Squad' plotted to gun down British soldiers and police and civilians in ISIS inspired drive-by shootings

March 23, 2016 4:48 PM
20 1

Two men from west London are facing lengthy jail terms for plotting to gun down soldiers and police officers in an ISIS-inspired terror attack.

Tarik Hassane, 22, pledged allegiance to ISIS in July 2014 and - after a fatwa was issued by the terror group - planned drive-by shootings outside Shepherds Bush Police Station and White City Territorial Army Barracks.

After bringing in school friend Suhaib Majeed, 21, a physics undergraduate at King’s College, London, the pair got hold of a gun and called themselves the Turnup Terror Squad.

Majeed was convicted of being part of the plot today. Nyall Hamlett, 25, and Nathan Cuffy, 26, who helped supply the gun, were acquitted of terror charges.

Medical student Hassane - the son of a Saudi diplomat and nicknamed 'The Surgeon' - hatched the plan to carry out a Lee Rigby-style attack on police, service personnel and civilians back in 2014.

But rather than use knives and wait at the scene like Rigby's killers had done, Hassane and his second-in-command Majeed planned to shoot their targets from a moped before driving off.

Commander Dean Haydon, of Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism command, said Majeed was 'more than likely' communicating with someone in Syria.

The plot is the first example of Islamist terrorists in Britain obtaining a working firearm, while sources say the plan has 'unnerving echoes' of the Paris massacre 16 months later.

It represents a 'dangerous cross-over' between Islamist terrorists and the world of gangs and drug dealing which enabled them to get hold of a weapon, security sources say.

Hassane admitted the plot last month as the defence was about to start in the trial.

Commander Haydon said of the plot: 'This is about acquiring a moped, acquiring a firearm, silencer and ammunition and, in broad daylight, targeting police officers, the military and members of the public and making good their escape.

'That is a real concern to me and certainly a real concern to SO15 Counter-terrorism Command.

When MI5 uncovered the plot in early September 2014, the security service launched the largest surveillance operation since the trans-Atlantic airlines plot to blow up eight aircraft using bombs in soft drinks bottles in 2006.

Hassane, 22, planned to shoot at soldiers and police officers outside Shepherds Bush Police Station and White City Territorial Army Barracks (pictured)

The main instigator of the plot was Hassane, a medical student who had failed to get onto a course in London and instead moved to Sudan to study there.

He grew up around the corner from 'Jihadi John' Mohammed Emwazi, and is thought to have likely known him.

The plot was hatched at the same time as Emwazi was appearing in his sickening beheading videos made by ISIS in Syria.

Hassane's school friend, Majeed, 21, who was studying at King’s College - one of the world’s leading universities - was the main co-ordinator behind the plot, organising and researching and acting as the communications expert.

Majeed used an encryption programme called Mujahideen Secrets on his laptop as he sat in Regent’s Park, yards from the residence of the US Ambassador, talking to his controller.

He was tasked with picking up the firearm, finding a moped for the drive-by and renting a lock-up to store the moped close to the target.

Officers believe the pair were planning to 'spread fear and panic' among the public after opening fire in a public place and then escape from the scene.

They believe the plan was for Hassane and Majeed to go 'two up' on a moped, with Majeed driving and Hassane riding pillion with the firearm.

Detectives used the cover of an operation against gangs in London to try and lull Hassane into a false sense of security that he was safe to return to Britain after his friends’ arrest.

When he did return he was put under surveillance as he visited an internet café where he was observed looking at articles about kidnapping in the Middle East and talking in hushed tones.

When his home was raided, police discovered Hassane had been using an iPad to research Shepherd’s Bush police station and the Parachute Regiment’s Territorial Army base in White City using Google Street View.

The plot was to kill police officers with a drive-by shooting outside Shepherds Bush Police Station (pictured)

Officers seized 22 terabytes of digital material, the largest ever examined by the Counter-Terrorism Command, amounting to 2 million files, the equivalent of 75 miles of paper if it was printed out.

It took 44,834 hours to examine it all, the equivalent of 5,509 working days.

Police later discovered pictures on Majeed's iPhone of Hassane posing with a gun - and in one image he also held a book on Osama bin Laden. A firearms expert was unable to say whether the gun was real or fake.

Tarik Hassane hardly looks like a model student in pictures from his school days - but few would have predicted he'd grow into a violent terrorist.

His loose tie is knotted short in the rebellious gesture of children around the country and his shirt is untucked as he poses with his friends.

But behind the laddish facade, Hassane had been named a 'maths ambassador' by teachers and had been given an award for his poetry.

The grades he would get were almost good enough to get him into King's College London, one of the capital's top university.

However, just a couple of years after missing out on a place at the university, Hassane - the son of a Saudi diplomat - was spouting hate online and plotting to kill policemen, soldiers and anyone else who got in his way in a terror attack to rival Lee Rigby's killing.

The 22-year-old, who has admitted conspiracy to murder and preparation of terrorist acts, is the latest in a long-line of second generation immigrants who have turned to extremism.

He was born in the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to a Moroccan mother and a Saudi father, a diplomat from Riyadh who moved on from his job in London and took his wife and younger son with him.

It is understood Hassane was brought up by his aunt, with whom he lived on a council estate in West London along with his younger sister. He also probably knew the man who was to become executioner Jihadi John.

In one exchange a friend asked him about going to the estate where Mohammed Emwazi lived and screaming 'Allahu Akbar' [god is great] after some kind of altercation.

Hassane’s mother was from Casablanca in Morocco, where he would often spend his holidays, sometimes driving a Range Rover sport around the streets.

His parents, he said, followed the principles of Islam, praying five times a day, fasting, giving money to charity and going on the hajj pilgrimage, and his mother wore the hijab head covering.

Friends from City of Westminster school said he was an 'average guy' from a 'nice family' and they would never have suspected him of violent radicalism.

Hassane and his friends were keen football players and members of a club called Hillgate United. One friend was so successful he played professionally in Sweden.

'I went and I met one of the best brothers who spoke to me about the deen [religion] in general, he didn't make it like the whole focus of the convo, he just dropped it in here and there, met him a few more times and hamdulilah [praise god] I benefited,' Hassane wrote.

Hassane's mother was a teaching assistant at a local school and the family hoped he would get into a top university but he failed to get the grades to study medicine in London and, despite being offered biomedicine, decided to study at the University of Medical Sciences and Technology in Khartoum, Sudan.

It was said he chose the university because it was in a Muslim country, though he told friends he planned to return to the UK to live and hoped to work in an NHS hospital.

It was around the time that he started studying abroad however that Hassane began accessing extremist material online and making his unsavory views known.

Giving himself the chilling nickname 'The Surgeon', he condemned women for wearing make-up and urged Muslims to pray for Islamists fighting in Syria.

As ISIS began making gains in Iraq, he said he wanted a book to be written about the foreign-born Muslims from West London who had gone to join the group.

Hassane's exact movements at this time are not known, but he is known to have been travelling between Morocco, Sudan and the UK and police say there is 'every possibility' he also went the ISIS-heartland Syria.

On July 7, 2014 he is known to have pledged allegiance to ISIS commanders and began planning an attack on his home city of London.

He brought in his old school friend Suhaib Majeed to help with communications and the pair contacted local criminals Nyall Hamlett and Nathan Cuffy to buy a gun.

The trio he brought in were arrested in September 2014, while Hassane was in Sudan, and he is understood to have heard about the police action his gang were facing.

But such was Hassane's fanaticism that he returned to the UK anyway, determined to carry out the plot he and the others had been planning.

After carrying out detailed reconnaissance of the two targets, he was arrested by police and after admitting his role in the plot, now faces a lengthy jail term.

'The Surgeon' Tarik Hassane is just the latest high-profile terrorist to emerge from one small district of west London.

The 22-year-old - who faces jail for plotting a drive-by shooting on police and soldiers - lived in a flat opposite where two would be-bombers were caught and he grew up around the corner from 'Jihadi John' Mohammed Emwazi.

After Hassane became the latest high-profile terrorist to be arrested on his estate locals say they fear the area is turning into a hotbed of extremism.

The radicalism bubbling beneath the surface in the otherwise peaceful district came boiling to the surface in 2005, when would-be bombers Muktar Said Ibrahim and Ramzi Mohammed were arrested at gunpoint outside a flat-block opposite from Hassane's home.

Somali nationals Ibrahim and Mohammed had planned to set off bombs on underground trains and buses in 2005, in a copy-cat attack to the 7/7 bombings which had killed 52 people just weeks earlier.

After the bombs failed to go off properly, they were tracked down to the flat where police ordered them to strip down to their underpants over fears they may have explosives on them.

A senior commander in the Somali militant group al-Shabaab also comes from the same area of West London, while ISIS has attracted large numbers of young men from Lisson Grove and Ladbroke Grove in the last four years.

Most have attended the major mosque in the area, been to the same schools, mixed in the same youth clubs and played for the same football teams.

Speaking after Hassane's more recent arrest, neighbours of The Surgeon said lots of young men in the area have turned to radical Islam and many from the district have made their way to Syria to fight for ISIS.

The most well-known among them is Mohammed Emwazi, a Kuwaiti-born son of immigrants who moved to Britain when he was six and would grow up to become the reviled 'Jihadi John'.

Emwazi lived a western lifestyle in Queens Park, less than a mile from Hassane's estate, enjoying the same pop music and computer games as his classmates in his Mary Magdalene Church of England primary school.

Like Hassane, he became radicalised after starting university. Following a failed attempt to join jihadists in east Africa, he went to Syria and gained global notoriety as the executioner in ISIS's horrific beheading videos. He was last year killed by a US drone.

In messages exchanged online, Hassane, the man at the centre of the plot in today's court case, praised Emwazi's gruesome killing of US journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley, writing 'FoleyinHell' and 'SotloffInHell'.

Hassane also encouraged the writing of a book which celebrated the 'martyrs' of West London. He wanted the book styled on a text called 'In the Hearts of Green Birds', which records the deaths of foreign Muslim fighters in Bosnia.

The 22-year-old is understood to have been friends with or known Mohammed el-Araj, also from Ladbroke Grove, and Choukri Ellekhlifi, from nearby Lisson Grove. The pair both joined extremists in Syria and were killed fighting in 2013.

Ellekhlifi, 22, was a member of a robbery gang who fled Britain in late 2012 after being arrested for robbery and released in bail. Mohammed el-Araj, 23, became only the second British fighter to be killed during an ambush on Assad forces in 2013.

The son of a Pakistani antiques dealer was pictured in a propaganda photograph wearing a paramilitary uniform and brandishing an AK-47 assault rifle in Syria shortly before his death.

Another of the west London extremists who found notoriety in Syria is Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary.

Bary was raised in a £1million council house in Maida Vale, just over a mile from Hassane's estate, and recorded rap songs before becoming an extremist.

He was suspected of being the executioner Jihadi John before Emwazi was unmasked as the killer. Bary is now thought to be among a number of foreign militants who have fled ISIS after fighters' wages were cut and the group began losing territory.

Terror expert Raffaello Pantucci, director of international security studies at Royal United Services, told MailOnline: 'Hassane comes from a part of London that has had problems before.

'These groups spring up around radical preachers and there's been preachers running study clubs in this area, which may be behind it.


Share in social networks:

Comments - 1
by Bisous

April 6, 2016 4:05 PM

Prob shouldn't lift your leg like that while wearin...