A man from Newcastle, U.K. has been sentenced to life with a minimum term of nine years in prison for preparing others to commit acts of terrorism and inciting terrorism overseas.
Fatah Mohammed Abdullah, 35 from the Arthur’s Hill area of Newcastle pleaded guilty to engaging in conduct in preparation for giving effect to an intention to assist others to commit terrorist acts, and to inciting terrorism overseas.
He pleaded guilty at Liverpool Crown Court in March 2020 to assisting others in Germany to commit acts of terrorism in their own country. Ahmed Hussein (also known as Shahin Fatah) and Omar Babek (also known as Hersh Fatah) were arrested and prosecuted by the German authorities in 2019. They were both sentenced to four years and eight months for the preparation of a serious act of violent subversion involving unlawful handling of explosive substances.
Abdullah was arrested on 11 December 2018 from his home address in Newcastle as part of an intelligence led investigation by Counter Terrorism Policing North East, supported by Northumbria Police.
From his address in Newcastle, officers recovered materials used to make explosives, in addition to fuses, a bushcraft knife and balaclava. Further packages were delivered to Abdullah’s address whilst specialist police teams searched the property following his arrest.
He was found to have purchased thousands of matches, precursor chemicals, fireworks, fuses and other components used in the production of improvised devices and recorded himself detailing how to test a remote control detonator. He shared this video with Hussein and Babek in Germany and through specialist forensic techniques, the investigation team were able to positively attribute the creation of the content to Abdullah.
Officers also uncovered a significant amount of material on Abdullah’s digital devices showing his affiliation and support for the so-called Islamic State group and extreme violence. Further video and audio recordings made by Abdullah detailed the steps that should be taken to prepare for and conduct the attack.
Through his extensive communications on a number of platforms, he sought to influence Hussein and Babek to cause an explosion and then drive a vehicle into a crowd. Abdullah also encouraged the sourcing of a firearm and use of a meat cleaver, knife or sword in order to kill as many people as possible.
Head of Counter Terrorism Policing North East Detective Chief Superintendent, Martin Snowden said: “Today’s sentencing brings to conclusion a detailed and protracted investigation by our team in the North East. Investigations of this nature often cause significant concern and unavoidable disruption within our communities. We’re grateful for the continued support of our colleagues at Northumbria Police and the patience and understanding of the public in the days following Abdullah’s arrest and throughout this protracted investigation.
“Abdullah had taken very real and significant steps to plan an attack and had purchased components he needed to develop an improvised explosive device. He prepared and tested a detonation system in order to show others how to create and use the system to cause an explosion in Germany and cause significant harm to others.
“His extensive contact across digital platforms evidences his determination and intent to influence Hussein and Babek and encourage them to commit the most horrendous acts of violence.
“While our investigation did not establish the target of a potential attack, Abdullah posed a very real risk. We cannot underestimate the significant harm and loss of life that could have occurred as a result of his actions and behaviour. We’re grateful we were able to disrupt these plans before there was an opportunity to see them through.”