Online couple guilty of IS Christmas plot

Munir Mohammed buying bomb materials

When arrested Mohammed already had two of the ingredients needed to make the highly unstable TATP, known as the "mother of Satan", which was used by a suicide bomber in an attack on a pop concert at the Manchester Arena last May, killing 22 children and adults, one of four deadly attacks in Britain a year ago. "Someone who can teach me new things and inspire me".

The court heard how when Mohammed was arrested in December 2016 he had two of the three components for TATP explosives as well as manuals on how to make bombs, mobile phone detonators and deadly ricin poison.

The Old Bailey heard Mohammed, a Sudanese asylum seeker, signed up for a "new job in the UK", via Facebook with a man he thought was an IS commander.

They will both be sentenced on February 22.

Munir Mohammed was trying to make a pressure-cooker bomb, like the device used at the Boston Marathon, detectives told me.

Jurors heard he pledged allegiance to ISIS, and offered to carry out "a new job in the United Kingdom", meaning an act of terrorism.

"I am looking for a man I can vibe with on a spiritual and intellectual level".

Mohammed begged the ISIS commander to send bomb making instructions and downloaded a video on how to make ricin, a highly toxic substance derived from castor beans.

He drew on El-Hassan's knowledge of chemicals after meeting online.

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Police found hydrogen peroxide in a wardrobe and hydrochloric acid in the freezer of his home during a raid on 12 December 2016 but Mohammed claimed they were for domestic purposes.

But Mohammed had an arranged marriage in Sudan with a woman he had never met called Fatima, who he was hoping to bring to England on a student visa.

El-Hassan told the court she had an "emotional attachment" to Mohammed, and that "there were feelings developing".

"I liked the attention he was giving me", she said.

Prosecutor Anne Whyte, QC, said: 'They exchanged materials and views at the time, we say, Mohammed was planning to perform an attack of his own, motivated and inspired by what he had seen and heard on social media.

Det Ch Insp Paul Greenwood, who led the investigation, said officers did not believe Mohammed had selected a definite target by the time he was arrested but was awaiting orders from Islamic State.

"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".

They sent each other sick videos on Whatsapp showing children executing prisoners and suicide bombers blowing themselves up and became "ideological soulmates".

"She appeared to be very receptive to that and they seemed to encourage each other with their shared mindsets...irrespective of whether she was influenced by him, she knew fully his mindset and contributed to a set of circumstances that, had we not intervened, could have resulted in significant loss of life in the United Kingdom in the lead-up to Christmas 2016".

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