To commemorate the 15th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, a British teen tried to blow up an Elton John concert.
19-year-old Harood Syed admitted today to plotting a September 11th bombing attack last year. British officers caught the teen after chatting with an undercover British Security Service officer online.
Syed plead guilty at the Old Bailey to a charge of preparation of terrorist attacks between April and September. The court heard how Syed tried to acquire the weapons online, including bomb vest and explosives. He also has a brother, who was jailed last year over an ISIS-inspired terror plot.
Syed went online and searched for Islamic State materials, information about previous terror attacks, and possible attack locations. Locations included Oxford Circus and an Elton John concert in Hyde Park, programmed for September 11th.
Police arrested the teen at his home in Hounslow, West London, on September 8th. After police demanded the password to his cellphone, the teen told them.
“Yeah, it’s ‘ISIS’ — you like that?”
The court heard about key evidence pulled from Syed’s mobile phone. He had sent messages on social media to a fake contact, Abu Yusuf. An agent posing as Yusuf taped a conversation with the teen at a Costa Coffee shop in Slough. Syed arranged to pick up a £150 ($193) nail bomb in the first week of September.
Defense lawyers attempted to portray Syed as a “highly vulnerable” teen with a difficult family history. He “lacked education,” struggled with an addiction to “violent online games” and couldn’t deal with his brother’s arrest and subsequent imprisonment.
According to his lawyers, radicals groomed Syed online. However, he never intended to carry out attacks. His chats with the undercover agent were merely a “fantasy to see how far it would go.”
After lawyers unsuccessfully tried to get the case thrown out, Syed entered a guilty plea. His lawyer, Mark Summers QC, argued that the British court should have provided Syed help from the Prevent program. The program tries to safeguard impressionable youth from extremist propaganda.
Judge Michael Topolski QC adjourned sentencing until June 8th. Syed faces a “discretionary life sentence.”
Last June, a British court found Syed’s brother, Nadir, guilty of plotting to carry out Lee Rigby-style beheading. He received a life sentence with a minimum term of 15 years. Lee Rigby was a British Army soldier stabbed and killed on May 22nd, 2013. His attackers nearly beheaded the soldier. They later claimed he “killed Muslims in Iraq and in Afghanistan.”
Meanwhile, Elton John has been battling another attack, this time from South American waters. After finishing performances in Brazil and Chile, the singer contracted a ‘potentially deadly’ infection. Now he’s out of the hospital, and quickly recovering.