- Anas Abdalla was today found guilty of trying to flee the UK to join the terror group
- He was arrested, along with three friends, hidden in the back of a lorry
- The Somali-born former asylum seeker had been a trainee with Midlands football club Aston Villa
- Abdalla was filmed describing Europeans as 'cattle' and said he hated his job as an IT worker as he was working with non-believers
Former Aston Villa trainee Anas Abdalla was found guilty of trying to join ISIS
A former Aston Villa trainee footballer who planned to sneak out of Britain and join ISIS faces jail.
Anas Abdalla had been filmed telling an undercover officer of his desire to kill non-believers, and he told an investigating officer in court today: 'Someday we’ll meet in a higher court than this.'
The Somali-born 27-year-old, an IT support worker for Selfridges in Birmingham, had been a 'good left footer', saying he played left back for Aston Villa's academy, and later in semi-professional teams.
He hated his job, the Old Bailey heard, because he had to mix with non-believers, and had described Europeans as 'like cattle'.
Abdalla became 'committed to the cause of violence in support of Islam and ISIS' and had a desire to travel to Syria, Duncan Atkinson QC, prosecuting, told the court.
In one conversation, Abdalla boasted to an undercover officer: 'Dawla [ISIS] was small, brother, very small [then] they kill, they kill, they kill and they say, "Yeh we win."'
In another, Abdalla told the officer: 'I think with my big mouth, if I have a gun akhi [brother], I will be in so much trouble. All I need is a gun here akhi, if I have…'
urors were told how former asylum seeker Abdalla spoke about feeling 'dirty' doing his IT job and said: 'September 11 was so good.'
He was found, along with two friends, lying flat on the floor of an articulated lorry in April last year as it prepared to board a ferry at Dover.
They were hiding in a gap behind a row of blue drums stacked against the rear door.
The case has involved four separate trials over more than a year after Abdalla, a convicted fraudster, accused MI5 of harassment.
Abdalla alleged that the Security Service had turned on him after he rebuffed their attempts to recruit him at Stechford Police Station in Birmingham in February 2013.
In the end MI5 chose to address that question in a secret court session from which the public was excluded.
These are the ID cards which were found on the three men, when they were discovered hiding behind blue drums in the back of a lorry headed for France, with rucksacks, cash and outdoor clothing
The trial marked the first time an undercover officer has spoken about his work targeting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in open court.
As he was found guilty, Abdalla threw a plastic cup across the dock and yelled at the senior investigating officer, DI Ryan Chambers: 'Someday we’ll meet in a higher court than this.'
Jurors had convicted him by a majority of 11 to one after 19 and a half hours of deliberations of one count of preparation of terrorist acts.
Abdalla was born in Mogadishu in Somalia and came to the UK as a child.
Gabriel Rasmus, Abdalla and Mahamuud Diini were found hiding in the lorry set to leave Dover in April last year. Diini was acquitted earlier this year, while Rasmus admitted plotting to join ISIS
He was granted indefinite leave to remain in 2011 and is now a British passport holder, but had been under investigation for some time before his arrest.
In one recorded conversation, Abdulla complained about his job in IT because it forced him to work alongside non-Muslims.
In another he referred to Europeans as ‘like cattle, worse than cattle’.
In a conversation about Europe, he said: ‘What the hell is here? There’s nothing here!’
He also made multiple references to ‘there’, ‘going there’ and ‘being out there’.
The men were found in the back of a lorry set to leave from Dover last year
Mahamuud Diini, 27, a building site labourer, also Somali-born and from Birmingham, was acquitted in a previous trial earlier this year and is fighting deportation back to his native Holland.
He claimed he was leaving to find his older brother who had been released from prison in Egypt where he had been tortured with the collusion of MI5.
In fact, the brother is thought to have joined ISIS, something that Abdalla boasted about to the undercover officer.
It can now be disclosed that another associate, Mahdi Hashi, 27, was detained in Djibouti and extradited to the US where he was jailed for nine years earlier this year.
The third man in the lorry, Gabriel Rasmus, 30, a former worker at Swarovski fashion accessories in Regent Street, originally from South Africa, had already pleaded guilty to seeking to join ISIS - his fourth attempt.
Rasmus had been targeted as a 'subject of interest' in an undercover operation by a police officer who used the name 'Muhamed'.
He had lived in Acocks Green in Birmingham for 14 years and ran a provocative Twitter account called @Iraqi_Info
Rasmus admitted plotting to join Islamic State forces, but Abdalla claimed he simply wanted to leave the country and was not involved in terrorist activity.
Abdalla instead said he was doing research for a tyre business he wanted to set up.
The undercover officer spent ten months investigating extremists in the Small Heath, Sparkbrook and Sparkhill areas of Birmingham.
The officer met Rasmus and Abdalla in cafes and restaurants and at Ramus’s home address in Lozells, Birmingham.
They talked about their home circumstances, food, local events and even football, but the topics returned to fighting for ISIS and their plans to travel to Syria.
Muhamed became a trusted driver for Rasmus and the men even confided him about a failed attempt to leave the country a few days before their arrest.
As they prepared for their trip, surveillance officers then watched Rasmus and Abdalla purchasing outdoor clothing and camping equipment from Argos and Sports Direct.
Abdalla claimed his life in Britain has been made 'intolerable' due to the actions of the Security Service and the Counter-terrorism Unit of West Midlands police.
'He believed that his university career, employment prospects and financial affairs had been adversely affected and any attempt by him to leave the UK had been thwarted by these organisations,' Mr Atkinson said.
But the Old Bailey heard that his academic career had actually been cut short by his poor performance and his Platinum Visa card blocked because he was not keeping up repayments.
Diini’s brother, Ahmed, was supported by Cage, the same group which backed Mohammed Emwazi, the man who became the ISIS executioner known as Jihadi John.
According to the campaign, Ahmed was 'harassed' for several years by MI5 but refused to become an informant.
While he was visiting Germany in February 2011, the Home Secretary, excluded him from the United Kingdom on national security grounds.
Sentencing for Abdalla and Rasmus was adjourned.