Islamic extremist guilty of planning attack on USAF after visiting Suffolk and Norfolk

Junead Khan (left) and his uncle Shazib Khan ANL-160217-125144001
Junead Khan (left) and his uncle Shazib Khan ANL-160217-125144001

A British Islamic extremist is facing a life sentence after being found guilty of planning a terror attack on American military personnel in Britain.

Delivery driver Junead Khan, 25, used his job with a pharmaceutical firm as cover to scout United States Air Force (USAF) bases in East Anglia, including RAF Mildenhall and Lakenheath, his trial heard.

A GPS map said to show the route Junead Khan's delivery van took through East Anglia ANL-160217-125112001

A GPS map said to show the route Junead Khan's delivery van took through East Anglia ANL-160217-125112001

He was also convicted alongside his uncle, Shazib Khan, 23, of preparing to go to Syria to join IS. Some of the evidence used to convict the pair cannot be revealed for legal reasons.

Detectives later found Junead had been exchanging chilling online messages with a so-called Islamic State (IS) fighter in Syria calling himself Abu Hussain at the same time, including describing attacking military personnel after faking a road accident.

He told Hussain on the encrypted SureSpot app: “When I saw these us (sic) soldiers on road it looked simple but I had nothing on me or wouldve (sic) got into an accident with them and made them get out the car.”

Prosecutors claimed Hussain was in fact British-born fanatic Junaid Hussain, who was killed in a US drone strike in the IS stronghold of Raqqa just weeks after his link with the planned UK attack was discovered.

After Junead was arrested in July, police found pictures on his phone of him posing in his bedroom with an Islamic State-style black flag which they later found in the attic. His computer was also found to contain an al Qaida bomb manual and Amazon searches for a large combat knife.

Khan was found guilty of preparing for an act of terrorism in the UK between May and July 2015 after a trial at Kingston Crown Court in London.

Both men had denied engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts between August 1 2014 and July 15 2015.

Neither showed any emotion as the jury returned its verdicts after deliberating for almost 24 hours at the end of a six-and-a-half-week trial.

Judge Mr Justice Edis remanded the men in custody until sentencing on May 13.

Junead Khan was found guilty unanimously of planning a UK terror attack but by a 10-2 majority on the second charge of planning to travel to Syria.

Shazib Khan was found guilty by unanimous verdict.

Junead Khan’s work as an agency driver for pharmaceutical firm Alliance Healthcare legitimately took him to East Anglia in May and June 2015, the court heard.

During these trips he drove close to bases operated by the USAF – RAF Mildenhall, RAF Lakenheath and RAF Feltwell plus the Cambridgeshire bases at RAF Alconbury and RAF Molesworth.

He was arrested on July 14 at Alliance’s depot in Letchworth, Herts.

The trial heard that in one of their July 5 conversations, after Junead Khan talked to Hussain about faking a road accident to attack the airmen, Hussain replied: “That’s what the brother done with Lee Rigby.”

He went on to say he would send Junead Khan a manual for making a ‘pressure cooker bomb’, adding: “It’s best to have at least pipe bombs or pressure cooker bomb in a backpack in case something happens.”

The prosecution had alleged that Junead Khan planned to travel to Syria with his relative but altered his plan to focus on an attack in the UK, either on British or US service personnel.

Giving evidence in court he said while he supported the establishment of an Islamic State, he did not wish to become a fighter himself.

Shazib Khan admitted exchanging messages with friends saying they had a ‘role to play’ and that he wanted to help ‘by any means’, but insisted he meant through providing money and food, not violence.