Tyne & Wear

Newcastle's Fatah Abdullah jailed for inciting German terror attack

Fatah Mohammed Abdullah Image copyright Counter Terrorism Policing North East
Image caption Fatah Mohammed Abdullah admitted inciting a terrorist attack

A man who incited a German terror cell to commit mass murder with a car, explosives and a meat cleaver has been given a life sentence.

Fatah Abdullah tried to learn how to make a pressure cooker "bomb" to aid Germany-based conspirators Omar Babek and Ahmed Hussein.

The 35-year-old encouraged the others to set off explosions, drive into a crowd and attack people with weapons.

At the Old Bailey, he was told he must serve a minimum term of nine years.

Abdullah had previously admitted a charge of inciting terrorism.

The court heard the attack would have caused mass fatalities but was foiled by police in January 2019.

Abdullah, who was born in Iran and successfully sought asylum in the UK after arriving in 2005, initially denied being involved and attempted to explain away items in his flat, which included more than 8,000 matches, fireworks and a remote control detonator.

He claimed he bought a pocket knife on Amazon to cut grass for his rabbits, a food mixer from eBay to make pizza dough and an SAS-style balaclava for when it was cold.

'Violent subversion'

Abdullah, of Arthur's Hill, also told police that 200g of sulphur powder was for growing flowers and denied knowing about its use in the production of gunpowder, the court heard.

Ingredients to make gunpowder that Abdullah had obtained were never found, suggesting they had been used.

In encrypted chat on Telegram, Abdullah detailed how the plotters should attack people, saying: "The aim is that you kill them and make them feel terrified and show them that (Islamic State), is here and Islam is here."

Prosecutor Barnaby Jameson QC said: "[Abdullah] researched, obtained and tested explosives in order to teach the German cell to carry out the terrorist attacks to maximum effect."

Mr Barnaby said Abdullah somehow became connected with cousins Hussein and Babek, who had sought asylum in Germany after travelling from Iraq in 2015.

Following their arrest, a court in Hamburg found the men "were determined to implement their proposed plan in a place in Germany that was highly frequented by people".

Hussein and Babek pleaded guilty to the preparation of a serious act of violent subversion involving unlawful handling of explosive substances and were sentenced to four years and eight months in prison.

Sentencing Abdullah, Mr Justice Sweeney described him as a dangerous offender whose "ultimate aim" was to "cause mass murder in Germany".

He said: "The fact the ultimate offences were to be carried out by others abroad does not diminish their gravity in any way.

"There can be no doubt your acts were of significant assistance and encouragement."

Det Ch Supt Martin Snowden, head of Counter Terrorism Policing North East, said: "Today's sentencing brings to conclusion a detailed and protracted investigation.

"We cannot underestimate the significant harm and loss of life that could have occurred as a result of Abdullah's actions and behaviour.

"We're grateful we were able to disrupt these plans before there was an opportunity to see them through."

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