Lonely hearts couple guilty of planning terrorist attack

Munir Mohammed and Rowaida El Hassan

LONDON: A couple who met on a lonely hearts website have been found guilty of plotting carnage over the Christmas holidays with an Islamic State-inspired bomb or ricin attack. Sudanese asylum seeker Munir Mohammed volunteered for a “lone wolf” UK mission as he chatted on Facebook with a man he believed was an IS commander. He enlisted the help of pharmacist Rowaida El-Hassan, drawing on her knowledge of chemicals needed to make a bomb after seeking her out on Single Muslim.com.
At the time of his arrest last December, Mohammed had two of the three components for TATP explosives as well as manuals on how to make explosives, mobile phone detonators, and deadly ricin poison. Mohammed, 36, of Leopold Street, Derby, and El-Hassan, 33, of Willesden Lane, north-west London, denied preparing terrorist acts between November 2015 and December 2016.Butfollowing an Old Bailey trial, a jury found the pair guilty of the plot. Judge Michael Topolski QC remanded the pair in custody and warned them they face jail when they are sentenced on February 22. Mohammed arrived in Britain in the back of a lorry and claimed asylum in February 2014, the court heard. After being left hanging for more than two years, he appealed to Derby MP Margaret Beckett for help with his immigration problems.
The long-serving Labour MP was informed by authorities that his case was “not straightforward” and had been referred to a “specialist unit for consideration”. Meanwhile, Mohammed was working at a Kerry Foods in Derby making sauces for supermarket ready meals and wooing a potential British bride he met online.
The prosecution claimed he was drawn to University College London graduate El-Hassan because she referred to having a Master’s degree in pharmacy in her dating profile. She wrote that she was “looking for a simple, very simple, honest and straightforward man who fears Allah” who she could “vibe with on a spiritual and intellectual level”. Jurors were told the pair had a “rapidly formed emotional attachment and a shared ideology” and by the spring of 2016 were in regular contact on WhatsApp and had met more than once in a London park near El-Hassan’s home. As well as arguments, jokes and everyday concerns, they also shared extremist views and videos. Lonely hearts couple guilty of planning terrorist attack