An undercover reporter working for the British Sun newspaper was coached for two months by an Islamic State recruiter with the intention of blowing up a major London tourist site. Possible sites included Big Ben, the London Bridge, or a major shopping area of the U.K. capital.
The Sun released a report on Thursday giving details of the story. Reportedly, the newspaper’s investigation showed that Abu Muslim Khurasani had spent two months coaching their reporter under orders of a top Islamic State recruiter.
— Moazama Qureshi (@qureshtribe) July 28, 2016
Allegedly the coaching included sending the reporter a bomb-making guide, along with details of how to obtain readily-available materials to build an explosive device and hide it inside a car. According to the guide provided to the reporter, the necessary materials — including gas canisters and fireworks — could easily be bought locally from shops for around £300 ($394).
A verification process was reportedly followed in recruiting the Sun reporter, and he was told ISIS was lining up several would-be terrorists in Western countries once they have also been “verified.”
Reportedly, the verification process includes answering simple questions on Islam, including washing rituals and prayer terms. The reporter was also asked to record voice messages reciting the opening of the Koran, together with giving the Islamic State recruiter a recent photo.
Khurasani had reportedly drawn up a list of possible targets, including Big Ben and London Bridge, saying “If u [sic] succeed in doing those places it will be huge. And damaging for them.”
However, eventually the Islamic State jihadist narrowed down the selection to a major London shopping center to be targeted in the attack.
The recruiter reportedly told the reporter, “Learn from Nice. Get a car you can park somewhere busy with many people — and a gun you can use at the same time.”
Sun investigation reveals lone wolf plot to blitz UK after jihadi recruited our reporter to commit terror atrocity https://t.co/5ZmRXmAFkQ
— Ricky Vaughn (@Ricky_Vaughn99) July 28, 2016
According to a report by the International Business Times, Khurasani continued by telling the reporter to use all the bullets while seated in the car and to then quickly press the detonator on the car bomb.
“Both things must be in a hurry. No time gap.”
According to the Sun, Khurasani also urged the reporter to “implore Allah for help,” saying, “Anything can work — truck, axe, anything, if Allah helps. We will remember your work — intentions must only be to serve Allah. He will love you for that. Life is very short, we meet in jannah [heaven] soon.”
All communications between the Islamic State recruiter and the reporter were allegedly made via the messaging app Telegram and have been handed over to the London anti-terror police and MI5.
According to the newspaper, Khurasani is also openly promoted on a jihadist Telegram channel as a recruiter. It has reportedly been claimed the Islamic State jihadist had helped to plan ISIS attacks in various Western countries, following the killing of the U.S. jihadist Abu Isa al-Amriki by a U.S. air strike back in April, 2016.
Khurasani warned the reporter to say nothing of his mission to his friends or family. When the reporter asked if his mission would help his family get into heaven, reportedly the Islamic State recruiter replied “Ur [sic] family is Muslim? Give them Quran to read. And ask them to read and understand it.”
“May Allah guide them to Islam if they are not Muslims already. But please, dont [sic] give them any hint about ur [sic] work.”
The International Business Times quotes Dean Haydon – head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command – as saying “While the UK threat level from international terrorism remains severe, we would like to reassure the public that we constantly review our security plans, taking into account specific intelligence and the wider threat.”