3 U.K. men convicted in airline bomb plot

From left, Assad Sarwar, 29, Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 28, and Tanvir Hussain, 28, were all found guilty of conspiring to murder crew and passengers on transatlantic flights by detonating explosives on aircraft by a London jury Monday. (CBC)

From left, Assad Sarwar, 29, Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 28, and Tanvir Hussain, 28, were all found guilty of conspiring to murder crew and passengers on transatlantic flights by detonating explosives on aircraft by a London jury Monday. (CBC)

 CBC News…  A London jury convicted three British Muslims Monday of conspiring to blow up at least seven airliners bound for the U.S. and Canada in what was intended to be the largest such attack since Sept. 11, 2001.

Their alleged plan was to kill thousands of people by blowing up commercial passenger planes in mid-air with liquid explosives disguised as soft drinks.

Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 28, Assad Sarwar, 29, and Tanvir Hussain, 28, were all found guilty of conspiring to murder crew and passengers on transatlantic flights by detonating explosives on aircraft.

Four other alleged conspirators were acquitted while the jury could not reach a verdict on an eighth man.

The trial heard the plotters were likely just days away from launching 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.

If they had been successful, about 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, officials said.

They had planned to assemble bombs in airplane toilets using hydrogen peroxide-based explosives injected into soda bottles.

The men’s arrests in 2006 led to huge travel chaos, as hundreds of flights were grounded and thousands of people had their trips disrupted.

They also triggered changes to airport security — including restrictions on carrying liquids on planes — that persist to this day.

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