Two Iraqi Kurds pretending to be refugees—one of whom had already been granted asylum and permanent residence in Britain—are currently on trial for preparing a car bombing in the UK in support of ISIS.
The two—named as Andy Star (unquestionably an Anglicization of his original name), the former owner of a fish shop in the northern town of Sheffield, and Farhad Salah—are accused of “researching, obtaining and testing chemicals, substances and explosive devices with a view to committing attacks in the UK in support of so-called Islamic State.”
According to the Derbyshire Times, one method of attack is believed to have involved a driverless car. Sheffield Crown Court was told of a message Salah sent which read “My only attempt is to find a way to carry out martyrdom operation with cars without driver everything is perfect only the programme is left.”
Prosecuting, Anne Whyte QC, said: “The prosecution allege that Farhad Salah and Andy Star had decided that improvised explosive devices could be made and used in a way here in the UK that spared their own lives preferably but harmed others they considered to be infidels.”
The court heard that various “significant” items were found at Star’s address including tubes, cylinders, homemade fireworks, copper piping, six screws wrapped in rubber, foil, two air rifles, two samurai swords, sulphuric acid and other substances including gunpowder.
Officers found that a fridge had been placed directly below the loft of Star’s property to gain access to the space, which was where the majority of items were found.
Senior forensic case officer, Sarah Wilson, inspected the items found at Star’s address and concluded there were several partially constructed explosive devices, a number of already functioned devices, a quantity of viable low explosive material and improvised pyrotechnic fuses.
Wilson tested the various substances and found that they included gunpowder. In total, there was 506g of viable low explosive material—such material will burn when ignited and if suitably confined within an enclosed pipe, can be made to explode, the court heard.
Meanwhile, on the same day and around the same time, officers gained entry to Salah’s property and allegedly found a number of items of interest and he was arrested.
The court heard that Salah was a regular user of social media and liked videos on Facebook which glorified IS. It is also alleged that Salah wanted to travel to Syria and sought help in how to get there.
The jury heard how Star helped Mr Salah transfer $100 to an ISIS fighter in Turkey. Whyte said: “It is our case that Salah was getting increasingly desperate to do something in the cause of IS. He was frustrated that he had not yet been able to travel out to the Middle East.
“In other words he was attack planning. But he was not planning alone. Andy Star was obtaining the materials necessary to conduct small test runs with explosives and Star was making those devices in his flat. Salah in turn was communicating his intentions to other people.
Star applied for asylum in the UK in 2008, and was granted and indefinite leave to remain with no restrictions on his ability to work in 2010.
Salah arrived in the UK in 2014 and applied for sought asylum. By the time of their arrests, Salah’s asylum claim had still not been determined.