Three Brits Convicted of Mass Terror Plot

Plan to bring down seven planes was just days away, say prosecutors

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Three British Muslims were convicted Monday of plotting to bring down at least seven North America-bound planes in a Sept. 11-style terror attack.

A London jury found Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 28, Assad Sarwar, 29, and Tanvir Hussain, 28, guilty of conspiracy to murder by detonating explosives on aircraft while they were in-flight. Four other alleged conspirators — whom the prosecution said were to have smuggled liquid explosives onboard jetliners disguised as soft drinks — were acquitted. The jury could not reach a verdict on an eighth man.

British and U.S. security officials said the plan was directly linked to al-Qaeda and guided by senior Islamic militants in Pakistan, who hoped to mount a spectacular strike on the West. The officials said British plotters were likely just days away from mounting their suicide attacks when police rounded up 25 people in dawn raids in August 2006.

Prosecutors said suspects had identified seven specific flights from London's Heathrow airport to New York, Washington, Chicago, San Francisco, Toronto and Montreal, as their targets.

British authorities estimate that, if successful, around 2,000 passengers would have died. If bombs were detonated over U.S. and Canadian cities, hundreds more would have been killed on the ground.

Get more: MSNBC, Times Online

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