On Wednesday, three men dubbing themselves as the ‘Three Musketeers’ were convicted of plotting an attack against UK police and military officials, reports Fox News.
The three men, Naweed Ali, Khobaib Hussain, and Mohibur Rahman, derived their name from a Disney cartoon image they used as a logo on their chat through the encrypted app Telegram.
Hussain and Ali had been convicted in 2013 of terrorist offenses after joining militant training camps in Pakistan. While serving out their sentence, they met Rahman, who was in prison for having connections to a plan to attack the London stock exchange.
Rahman was serving out a 5 year sentence for possessing Al-Qaeda magazines that had instructions on how to create a bomb.
The fourth individual brought in front of the jury was arrested for purchasing a samurai sword for the group’s use. Tahir Aziz was reportedly keeping the item in his vehicle along with several cell phones.
Aziz is said to have been brought into the original group of three, just days before arrests were made, as a “fourth man” that would help carry out the terror attack. A contact of Rahman’s, he had an “obsessive interest in extremist material” after splitting up with his wife.
Daily Mail reports that Aziz and Rahman may have met with hate-preacher and ISIS supporter Anjem Choudry in May of last year. Choudry has helped to radicalize a number of individuals over the years, including Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, both of whom are responsible for the death of soldier Lee Rigby in 2013.
UK Authorities say that the ‘Three Musketeers’ were planning a similar attack, labeling it a “Lee Rigby-style” plot.
Initially, West Midlands counter-terrorism command reportedly launched an undercover operation in 2016 to gather further information on Hussain. A fake delivery company by the name of Hero Couriers was created, and he was hired, given a paycheck and a uniform to wear.
Later, Hussain’s undercover boss claimed that Hero Couriers was in need of more drivers. He recommended Ali, who was later given the job.
On Ali’s first day, he handed his keys to his ‘boss’ and during what authorities said was a “technical operation”, M15 agents showed up to bug Ali’s car. Inside, they reportedly discovered a half-made pipe bomb, an air pistol, and a meat cleaver with the word kafir [unbeliever] scratched into it, in a JD Sports bag under the driver’s seat of Ali’s car.
An officer claimed to have seen Hussain with the same bag just days before.
All four men were arrested the same day the weapons were discovered, in August of 2016.
Ali, Hussain, and Rahman all denied all claims, stating that their undercover boss had planted the evidence. But after more than 22 hours of consideration, jurors convicted the men of planning a terror attack. They will be held in custody until their sentencing on Thursday.
As for Aziz, his fate is unclear: Fox News reports that the jury is still deliberating, but others say that he was prosecuted Wednesday morning along with the three other men.