- The Washington Times - Monday, January 15, 2007

LONDON — Six men plotted to kill London subway and bus passengers with bombs made from hydrogen peroxide and flour two weeks after suicide bombers killed 52 commuters in the city, a prosecutor told a jury yesterday.

No one was killed in the attempted bombings of three subway trains and a bus on July 21, 2005, because the devices failed to explode.

“We say that the failure of these bombs to explode owed nothing to the intentions of the defendants. It was simply the good fortune of the traveling public that this day they were spared,” prosecutor Nigel Sweeney said in outlining the government’s case.

“This case is concerned with an extremist Muslim plot, the ultimate objective of which was to carry out a number of murders and suicide bombings,” Mr. Sweeney told jurors.

The men, who are largely of East African descent, have pleaded not guilty to charges of plotting to bomb London’s transport network two weeks after suicide attackers killed 52 commuters in the city on July 7, 2005.

Muktar Said Ibrahim, 28; Ramzi Mohamed, 25; Yassin Omar, 26; Manfu Asiedu, 33; Adel Yahya, 24; and Hussain Osman, 28 — all from London — deny charges of conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to cause explosions.

Mr. Sweeney said Mr. Osman had told police the bombs were “a deliberate hoax in order to make a political point” and were not intended to kill. But Mr. Sweeney said forensic scientists had tested the mixture, and “in every experiment this mixture has exploded.”

The main explosive charge was 70 percent liquid hydrogen peroxide and 30 percent flour of the type used for chapatis, a type of Indian flat bread, Mr. Sweeney said.

The detonators contained triacetone triperoxide (TATP), an explosive used by Palestinian suicide bombers and by Richard Reid, who tried to detonate a shoe bomb on a U.S.-bound aircraft. The explosives were packed in plastic tubs, with screws, bolts and other pieces of metal taped on the outside as shrapnel, the prosecutor said.

Commercially available hydrogen peroxide is too diluted to be an effective explosive, Mr. Sweeney said, so the conspirators bought a total of 284 bottles and boiled down the substance to increase the concentration.

Traces of hydrogen peroxide and TATP were found in Mr. Omar’s apartment, along with evidence that hydrogen peroxide had been boiled.

Mr. Sweeney said the components for the bombs were bought beginning in April 2005, proving the attacks were “not some hastily arranged copycat” of July 7.

Mr. Sweeney said the suspects — most of whom were born in Ethiopia or Somalia — were well known to one another long before the attacks, and five had been photographed by police on a camping trip in the Lake District of northern England in May 2004.

Most of the suspects were arrested in Britain a few days after the failed bombings. Mr. Osman fled to Italy and was detained in Rome a week after the attacks.

Eleven others — including Mr. Osman’s wife and sister-in-law — have been charged with assisting the accused or failing to disclose information. Their trials are expected later this year.

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