Thursday, February 22, 2018

'You planned an attack on the country where you were seeking asylum':

  • Munir Mohammed, 37, and Rowaida el-Hassan, 33, met on
  • Within weeks, Mohammed was sending her gory videos of ISIS executions
  • Asked him to 'send more' and helped guide him to the chemicals for a bomb
  • Mohammed was jailed for life with minimum of 14 years and el-Hassan for 11 
A couple who plotted a 'devastating' IS-inspired bomb and poison attack after meeting on a Muslim dating site were both jailed today.
Asylum seeker Munir Mohammed, 37, enlisted the help of pharmacist Rowadia El-Hassan, 33, to help him carry out a lone wolf atrocity in the UK.
The Sudanese pair met on in March 2016, where El-Hassan's profile said she was looking for, 'Someone who can teach me new things and inspire me.' They soon started swapping IS propaganda on WhatsApp.
Sudanese asylum seeker Munir MohammedPharmacist Rowaida El-Hassan
Sudanese asylum seeker Munir Mohammed  enlisted the help of pharmacist Rowaida El-Hassan drawing on her knowledge of chemicals needed to make a bomb. 
They are both seen in undated police mug shots 
He sent her execution videos and she begged him to send more, before sending him material glorifying martyrdom.
 Mohammed later claimed he sent these videos to show her 'this is not the Muslim way'. 
Divorced mother-of-two El-Hassan helped food factory worker Mohammed by sending information about chemical components to make the explosive TATP, known as 'Mother of Satan' and how to source them.
She also assisted his online research about the manufacture of ricin.
They denied planning an attack but Mohammed, of Derby, and El-Hassan, of Willesden, north west London, were convicted of preparation of terrorist acts last month.
At the Old Bailey Mohammed was jailed for life with a minimum of 14 years, while El-Hassan was jailed for 12 years and handed an extended five year licence.
The judge ruled she was dangerous meaning she will serve at least two-thirds of the term. The court heard he spoke to an ISIS commander on Facebook. 
Mohammed sat slumped in the dock as the sentence was passed, while El-Hassan looked up at the public gallery as she left.

Passing sentence Judge Michael Topolski QC said: 'You decided to plan an attack on the country in which you were seeking asylum.

'For this plan you needed help. You found that help on the website
'Within weeks you were sending Rowaida El-Hassan Isis execution and propaganda videos and other material.

'Your intention was to cause an explosion intended to cause multiple deaths.' 
He said he was satisfied it was probably Mohammed who introduced the violent radical ideological material into the online relationship.

But Judge Topolski said: 'Far from rejecting it, she embraced it and became more and more absorbed by it.

'To the point where she became an enthusiastic, encouraging and supportive partner in what was being developed.

'They shared offensive and deeply disturbing attitudes towards, for example, followers of Shia Islam, gay people and other people routinely targeted by Islamic State.'

After the Orlando gay nightclub attack El-Hassan became concerned 'about the value of attacking soft targets' but Mohammed 'seemed willing to justify them', the judge added.
Quoting a pre sentence report, he said: 'She was a willing and equal, if not influential partner in this offence.'

The report found El-Hassan also poses a 'high risk of future harm'.

The judge told her: 'You knew full well he was engaging in planning an attack. And so it was that you assisted him by carrying out research online.

'Your commitment was consistent and sustained.

'I am sure that Munir Mohammed, whose plan this was, would not have got as far as he did in assembling all that he needed to launch a potentially devastating attack.'

The pair only met face to face up to three time in a park near her home, the court heard.

Both were arrested on December 12, 2016, and Mohammed was caught with two of the three components to make TATP.

He had instruction manuals on building explosives, mobile phone detonators and ricin.
On December 1, he was seen buying 'acetone free' nail polish from Asda, mistakenly believing it was a component of TATP because of his poor English. 

A week later he went to a shop in Derby, Ace Discounts, where he asked about pressure cookers.

At El-Hassan's home officers seized two phones, sulphuric acid and a box containing four face masks bought from Amazon.

Prosecutors argued the pair had a 'shared extremist ideology', with the case showing how easily terrorist plots can be prepared because of the internet.

Mohammed spoke on Facebook to an IS commander, who used the site for a call to arms for lone wolf attacks throughout the world.

He pledged allegiance to IS, expressed willingness to participate in 'a new job in the UK' and asked for bomb making instructions.

El-Hassan said on her dating profile she was a pharmacist with a Masters degree from University College London.

She wrote: 'I am looking for a simple, very simple, honest and straight forward man who fears Allah before anything else.

'I am looking for a man I can vibe with on a spiritual and intellectual level. Someone who can teach me new things and inspire me.'

Mohammed described himself online as a British citizen from Sudan, working as a physicist who was looking for a wife and partner and to have children.

He arrived in the UK in the back of a lorry and claimed asylum in 2014, appealing to Derby Labour MP Margaret Beckett for help with his immigration problems two years later.

The investigation was led by Counter Terrorism Policing North East and the East Midlands Special Operations Unit - Special Branch, supported by Derbyshire, and Metropolitan Police Forces.
DCI Paul Greenwood from Counter Terrorism Policing North East, said: 'It was only a matter of weeks after meeting each other that Mohammed and El Hassan had formed such a strong trust that Mohammed shared extremist material with her.

'This then rapidly escalated and El Hassan, a qualified pharmacist, readily passed on her knowledge to Mohammed giving him the technical assistance he need in preparing for a terrorist attack.

'Although we do not know what Mohammed and El Hassan's exact intentions were, a number of concerning items had already been purchased and the pair had done extensive research regarding making TATP (acetone peroxide) and ricin.

'The evidence clearly shows that the pair planned to cause harm and today's verdict, and subsequent sentences, means they will now have to face up to their actions in prison.'

Detective Superintendent Mark Pollock, Head of EMSOU-SB, said: 'The response to this incident demonstrates our commitment to finding and bringing to justice those who are intent on causing harm to our communities in the name of whatever cause.

'While this conspiracy was centred in Derby and London, resources from across the national Counter Terrorism network were brought to bear on them, culminating in the successful result today.

'Nevertheless, while these individuals are today starting long prison sentences, it is essential that the public continues to provide information around others who may be planning or supporting attacks like those we saw earlier this year in Manchester and London.'

Chief Superintendent Jim Allen, who is in charge of policing in Derby, said: 'The residents of Derby were shocked by these arrests late last year. Through our relationship with our partner agencies and through our Safer Neighbourhood teams, we were able to reassure the community and they really pulled together to support each other.

'This case is a stark reminder to Derby residents that the threat of terrorism is real and present and it highlights the need to be vigilant. 

Your local policing teams are at work every day trying to address this threat and it's testament to the community in Derby that Mohammed was detected and brought to justice before he could act.

'Derby has always been a vibrant and multi-cultural city; a safe place to live, work and visit. My message is this - come to Derby, enjoy shopping here, enjoy our nightlife and everything the city has to offer.

'I would ask anyone to report anything suspicious to us; be that suspicious behaviour among friends, colleagues, neighbours or family. Speak to us and share any concerns you have.' 

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