Posted on May 16, 2024

Men Accused of Plot to Attack Jews With Machine Guns in North-West England

Vikram Dodd and Duncan Gardham, The Guardian, May 14, 2024

Two men have appeared in court accused of a machine gun terrorism plot to attack Jewish communities in north-west England, as well as police and military targets.

Walid Saadaoui, 36, from Abram near Wigan, and Amar Hussein, 50, of no fixed address, are accused of planning the Islamic State-inspired plot and charged with preparing acts of terrorism.

A third man, Bilel Saadaoui, 35, from Hindley near Wigan, brother of Walid, is accused of failing to disclose information about an act of terrorism.

All three were arrested last Wednesday and appeared at Westminster magistrates court, which heard the plot involved attempts to obtain machine guns, a hand gun and ammunition, and identifying a safe house where these could be stored.

Walid Saadaoui was detained as he went to collect what he believed were the weapons for the attack, the court heard.

The prosecutor, Rebecca Waller, told the court: “Walid Saadaoui and Amar Hussein planned to conduct an Isil- or Daesh-inspired terrorist attack in the UK during which they intended causing multiple fatalities using automatic weapons.

“The main targets of their attack plans were the Jewish community in the north-west of England and members of both law enforcement and military.

“Both defendants took significant steps to prepare, and by May 2024, had reached the point at which, they believed, they were in a position to launch their attack.”

In court Walid Saadaoui spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and address and was remanded in custody.

Amar Hussein was unrepresented by legal counsel and when asked if he wanted to apply for bail, refused to look at the judge and answered: “Do whatever you want to.”

Bilal Saadaoui was also remanded in custody and sobbed as he was led from the dock. He pleaded not guilty to the charge facing him.

The district judge, Louisa Ciecióra, said all three men would appear at the Old Bailey on 24 May.

A counter-terrorism operation led to the arrests after raids in the Bolton, Abram, Hindley and Great Lever areas of Greater Manchester at about 7.30pm on 8 May.

The charges say the alleged plot started no earlier than 13 December 2023 and ran until this month.

The UK’s terrorism threat level remains at “substantial”.