Four Men Sentenced to Jail Terms for Plotting U.K. Terror Attack

Four men charged with planning a terrorist attack in the U.K. and discussing targets and weapons were given jail sentences totalling as long as nearly 45 years.

Two of the quartet, Zahid Iqbal, 31 and Mohammed Sharfaraz Ahmed, 25, will spend 11 years and three months in jail for plotting to make a homemade bomb with a view to attacking an army base in Luton, north of London. They could be hauled back to prison for a further five years if they break the terms of their release.

Syed Hussain, 21, and Umar Arshad, 24 were jailed for five years and three months and six years and nine months respectively for their part in the plot which included terrorism training, fundraising and traveling to Pakistan.

“Iqbal and Ahmed are in their different ways the most serious of these offenders,” Judge Alan Wilkie said handing down the sentences today. They seriously discussed “assembling and deployment” of an improvised explosive device “with a specific target in mind and had discussed with others the acquisition of a firearm and ammunition.”

The U.K. courts are grappling with terrorist cases as U.S. authorities deal with the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, which killed three people -- the highest profile act of terror in the U.S. since the Sept. 11 attacks on New York City and Washington in 2001.

“The actions and intentions of these men starkly demonstrate what we have repeatedly said -- that terrorists live among us while they carry out their plans, doing all they can to conceal their activities,” Stuart Osborne, head of Counter Terrorism Command at the Metropolitan Police, said in an e-mailed statement.

The charges against the quartet include “committing acts of terrorism, or assisting others to commit such acts, engaged in conduct in preparation for giving effect to that intention,” police said in a statement at the time of the charges being made against them.

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