- The Washington Times - Friday, February 9, 2007

LONDON — A man appeared in court yesterday charged with planning to kidnap and kill a member of the armed forces in a plot apparently aimed at Muslims who had served with British troops in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Parviz Khan, 36, was accused of “engaging in conduct to give effect to his intention to kidnap and kill a member of the armed forces.” He was one of five to appear at Westminster Magistrates Court in London charged with various terrorism-related offenses.

The men were accompanied by seven security guards as they entered the glass-enclosed defendants’ box.

A defense source said last week that the intended target of the suspected plot was a Muslim soldier. Press reports have said the plan was to copy tactics used by terrorists in Iraq by videotaping the killing and posting it on the Internet.

Mr. Khan was also charged with intending to supply equipment to others for use in acts of terrorism and with entering into a funding arrangement that could be used for terrorism.

Four other men — Mohammed Irfan, 30, Zahoor Iqbal, 29, Hamid Elasmar, 43, and Amjad Mahmood, 31 — were charged with those two offenses.

Mr. Mahmood was also accused of failing to disclose information that could prevent an act of terrorism, as was a sixth man, Basiru Gassama, 29, who was charged later yesterday and was expected in court today.

The six men were among nine suspects arrested by police in dawn raids in the central city of Birmingham last week. The other three were released without charge.

The arrests came against a background of heightened security in Britain since four British Muslims killed 52 persons on London’s transport system in July 2005 in Western Europe’s first Islamist suicide bombings. Britain has been on its second-highest alert level since then.

David Shaw, assistant chief constable of West Midlands Police, told reporters that officers had seized 4,500 items, including computers, cell phones and documents from homes and businesses in Birmingham.

The city, Britain’s second largest, is also one of its most ethnically diverse, with a large Muslim population.

The Birmingham arrests, though, aroused skepticism in the local Islamic community and elsewhere among Britain’s 1.8 million Muslims because of previous blunders in high-profile security operations.

In a separate case at Westminster Magistrates Court yesterday, Abu Izzadeen, 32, from East London, was freed on strict bail conditions after being charged with encouraging terrorism at a community meeting in Birmingham last July.

Mr. Izzadeen, who gained notoriety when he heckled Interior Minister John Reid during a speech last September, faces a maximum sentence of seven years if found guilty.

Mr. Izzadeen, 31, who was born Trevor Brooks in Jamaica, was a leading figure in the banned radical Islamic group Al Ghurabaa.

Mr. Izzadeen has previously praised the London bombers.

Al Ghurabaa emerged from another organization, al Muhajiroun, which called the September 11 attackers “magnificent.”

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