UK's Sacrifice72 targeted SA Jews

2014-04-29 21:08
Saajid Badat

Saajid Badat

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New York - A British convict who plotted to blow a US passenger plane out of the sky was so determined to die for al-Qaeda that he used the email address sacrifice72@yahoo.com, he admitted on Tuesday.

Saajid Badat, 35, told the New York trial of British hate preacher Abu Hamza that he used the Yahoo account while researching Jewish targets in South Africa.

The word sacrifice was a nod to his determination to die in the cause of violent jihad and 72 a reference to the number of virgins that al-Qaeda preached a "martyr" is entitled to deflower in heaven.

Badat said he went to Pakistan in mid-2001 to use the internet to research Jewish targets, which included a Holocaust museum, synagogues and the diamond industry.

Under cross-examination from Abu Hamza's lawyer Jeremy Schneider, he said he spent two days preparing a "detailed" report for al-Qaeda bosses on the targets.

He admitted he was willing to see women and children killed should the attacks have gone ahead.

When al-Qaeda asked him instead to blow a US jet out of the sky and murder hundreds of people in late 2001, he confessed that he felt "honoured" and "proud".

Badat flew back to Britain from Pakistan, via the Netherlands and Turkey, with a shoe bomb strapped to his foot but backed out of the plot in December 2001.

Schneider told the court during cross-examination that Badat had received $125 000 in total benefits from the British government since agreeing to testify against his former al-Qaeda associates.

The benefits included rent, a TV licence, utility bills, travel and hotel expenses, Schneider said.

Fascinating detail

Badat said he received "very minimal money" and insisted he was "predominantly self-sufficient".

He said he entered a formal co-operation agreement in 2009. He was released from prison in 2010 after serving 6.5 years for conspiracy to harm an aircraft.

Britain also interceded to free up his assets frozen by UN sanctions, Badat admitted.

He told the court that he had never met or spoken to the defendant, but his testimony was peppered with fascinating details about his life with al-Qaeda.

During his research trip to Karachi in mid-2001, when he stayed with an aunt, he was stopped by Pakistani police while in a rickshaw.

His arm had been in a sling because of a shoulder injury sustained at an al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan.

He believed the sling courted suspicion and subsequently removed it, he admitted.

Badat testified to seeing British former Guantanamo Bay inmate, Feroz Abbasi, at an al-Qaeda guest house and an al-Qaeda-run training camp in Afghanistan.

At a meeting between English-speaking recruits and al-Qaeda leaders, Badat said Abbasi showed the "least enthusiasm" when propositioned about attacking Jews and Americans.

Although he backed out of the shoe bomb plot, Badat kept the bomb hidden for two years until his arrest on 27 November 2003 and retained his Al-Qaeda ideology.

Door open

He admitted to keeping in touch with the associate in London who paid for his travel to Afghanistan, in case he wanted to fight in Iraq, he admitted.

"You wanted to leave the door open in case you wanted to get back into the game?" asked Schneider.

"Correct," Badat replied, leaning forward with his hands in his lap.

He printed off a claim for an attack on a synagogue in Istanbul in November 2003 and had anti-Semitic text messages on his mobile phone, he admitted.

The November 2003 Istanbul attacks, blamed on al-Qaeda targeted two synagogues, the British consulate and a British bank, killing 63 people.

Badat testified by video link from Britain because he faces 30 years to life imprisonment in the United States over the shoe bomb plot.

Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, 56, better known in Britain as Abu Hamza al-Masri, has pleaded not guilty to 11 kidnapping and terror charges which pre-date 9/11.

He faces the rest of his life in a maximum security US prison if convicted in the Manhattan federal court after a trial expected to last well into May.

Blind in one eye and with both arms blown off in an explosion in Afghanistan years ago, he sat quietly in the courtroom in tracksuit bottoms and a T-shirt.

Read more on:    al-qaeda  |  uk  |  pakistan  |  us
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