Airliner plot ‘publicity stunt’
LONDON — A British Muslim accused of plotting to blow up transatlantic airliners told a court yesterday he was planning a publicity stunt to draw viewers to a documentary film about British and U.S. foreign policy.
Opening the defence’s case in a widely watched trial, Abdulla Ahmed Ali told the court he and his friends had hoped to grab the world’s attention but did not intend to kill anyone.
“What we were going to do was make a small device that would be set off in a sensitive area that would cause a lot of alarm and tension and chaos, or whatever,” Ali, 27, told the court. “We never intended to murder anyone or to injure anyone,” he said. “We never even thought about going on an airplane.”
Prosecutors say the suspects intended to simultaneously blow up a number of planes in mid-air from London’s Heathrow airport to the United States and Canada, potentially killing many hundreds of people, before they were caught in August 2006.
The eight deny conspiracy to commit murder or to carry out strikes on aircraft.