- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 27, 2017

A British teenager pleaded guilty Thursday in connection with contemplating a series of terrorist attacks against targets including an Elton John concert in London last fall.

Haroon Syed, 19, pleaded guilty to the preparation of terrorist acts Thursday in London’s Central Criminal Court, opening the door for the possibility of life imprisonment when he’s sentenced at a date to be determined.

Prosecutors said Syed had considered conducting terrorist attacks on British soil last year, and the government argued he had been “researching, planning and attempting to source” materials for homemade bombs prior to being taken into custody.

An Elton John concert scheduled for the 15th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attack in Hyde Park and Oxford Circus, a London subway station, were both considered potential targets, according to prosecutors.

Syed discussed his plans online with undercover agents, providing investigators with plentiful evidence cited prior to securing Thursday’s guilty plea.

In one instance, for example, prosecutors alleged Syed said he needed to acquire a machine gun and an explosive vest for “martyrdom.” In another he told the informant about a potential bomb plot, writing: “I might put the bomb in the train and then I’m going to jump out so the bomb explodes on the train…so ask the brother if he can make that type of bomb with button.”

Syed never followed through and was apprehended on September 8 before he could ever act, just three days before the Elton John performance.

After police took Syed into custody, he reportedly told detectives they could unlock his smartphone by typing in an acronym for the Islamic State terror group.

“I.S.I.S - you like that?” Syed said, London’s Independent reported Thursday.

Syed’s defense team described him in court documents as “highly vulnerable,” due to factors including family history, lack of education, addiction to violent online games and the arrest and imprisonment of his brother, a convicted ISIS supporter.

“The proper response of the state should have been to engage,” said Syed’s attorney, Mark Summers QC. “[T]o steer him away from the path it was feared he was going down, rather than guiding him down it,” he told the court, Metro reported.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 8.

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