A Jihadist group from Birmingham were to target crowded areas to cause “mass death” in a terror plot that was set to be even more devastating than the 7/7 London bombings, Woolwich Crown Court was told.
Two of the alleged ringleaders had received terror training in Pakistan and made martyrdom videos to be released after they had “blown themselves up”.
They were taught in bomb-making, how to use weapons and poisons before returning to the UK to recruit others for their plot.
That included arranging for others to be sent to Pakistan for training as well.
They planned to detonate homemade bombs in up to eight rucksacks and may also have blown others up with bombs on timers.
In order to raise funds for their terrorist activities, the gang organised bogus street collections in busy areas of Birmingham for the charity Muslim Aid and for a local Islamic school, partly during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the court heard.
The “vast majority” of the money never reached the good causes for which it was intended. More than £13,500 was banked, but Muslim Aid received only £1,500 and the school just £900.
The group’s alleged chief fundraiser, Rahin Ahmed, 28, tried to generate more funds by investing the money in the capital markets, but lost over £9,000 through incompetent trading.
Brian Altman QC, prosecuting, said: “The stark fact is that the defendants and those they employed to raise funds with them were despicably stealing from their own community money donated to charity.”
The details emerged as the trial began today of three men described by the prosecution as “the senior members of this home-grown terror cell”.
Irfan Naseer, 31, Irfan Khalid, 27, and Ashik Ali, 27, all unemployed from Birmingham, all deny a number of terror charges including planning a bombing campaign, recruiting others for terrorism and terrorism fundraising.
They were among a total of 11 men and one woman arrested by police on various terrorism charges last September.
Mr Altman told the jury of six men and six women: “In September 2011, and after, officers of the West Midlands Counter-Terrorism Unit arrested a number of young men from the Birmingham area, who are resident in this country.
“With it the police successfully disrupted a plan to commit an act or acts of terrorism on a scale potentially greater than the London bombings in July 2005, if it had been allowed to runs its course.