Shiv Malik and David Leppard
A former Islamic militant has disclosed for the first time the extent of the Al-Qaeda terror network in Britain.
Hassan Butt, who was stabbed in the street recently after publicly denouncing fundamentalist violence, revealed that more than 100 jihadis held an Al-Qaeda summit in London four years ago to coordinate their British activities into a single force.
Among those present was Mohammed Junaid Babar, a US citizen who later became a supergrass after being arrested by the FBI. His evidence was crucial to the conviction last week of the Islamist “Crevice gang”, who had plotted to set off bombs in London and Kent.
After the summit, said Butt, he drove to Batley in West Yorkshire with Babar who directed him to the home of Mohammad Sidique Khan, who later led the bombers who hit London on July 7, 2005. Butt said he got the impression that Babar knew Khan well.
This weekend fresh doubts were raised over the official account of how much the intelligence services knew about the 7/7 bombers before their suicide attacks. A document for the Crown Prosecution Service states that Khan was “identified” six months before the attacks — contrary to statements made by John Reid, the home secretary.