Al-Qaeda operative flew into Britain wearing shoe-bomb

Al-Qaeda operative flew into Britain wearing shoe-bomb
British terror convict Saajid Badat was testifying at the New York trial of Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, Suleiman Abu Ghaith (above), via video link from Britain.

NEW YORK - A British terror convict flew from Pakistan to London wearing a shoe-bomb that he was supposed to detonate on a United States passenger jet, a New York trial heard on Tuesday.

Star prosecution witness Saajid Badat, testifying at the trial of Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, revealed that he flew via the Netherlands wearing the bomb.

Once back in Britain in December 2001, he was supposed to fly across the Atlantic and bomb a domestic US flight, but a reunion with his parents, after three years in Afghanistan, changed his mind.

"It was then I decided to back out of the mission," said Badat. He e-mailed his handler in Karachi to withdraw, but kept the bomb.

"I hadn't relinquished my views, so there may come a time when I would need it again," he added.

He said he met Osama one-on-one to discuss the plot and admitted that he "envied" the 9/11 hijackers.

The revelation came as Badat provided striking insights into a string of plots and Al-Qaeda training activities in Afghanistan in 2001.

He also told the court how Al-Qaeda operatives had tested poisons on animals named Clinton, Bush and Sharon, before watching them die.

He revealed how he met at least two of the 9/11 hijackers, went to Belgium in connection with a thwarted plot, researched Jewish targets to attack in South Africa, and handed a shoe bomb to Malaysian plotters in December 2001.

A polyglot fluent in four languages, he said he translated Osama's speeches and sermons from Arabic, so that they could reach the English-speaking world.

The 34-year-old saw a potential life sentence in Britain reduced to 6.5 years in exchange for cooperating with British and US officials.

Called by prosecutors in the trial of Suleiman Abu Ghaith, he appeared by video link from Britain because he faces arrest and life imprisonment in the United States.

More about

Your daily good stuff - AsiaOne stories delivered straight to your inbox
By signing up, you agree to our Privacy policy and Terms and Conditions.