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British extremist faces life sentence over terror plot

Junead Khan
Junead Khan

A British Islamic extremist faces life in prison when he is sentenced later for planning a terror attack on American military personnel in Britain.

Delivery driver Junead Khan, 25, used his agency job with a pharmaceutical firm as cover to scout United States Air Force (Usaf) bases in East Anglia.

Detectives discovered he had been exchanging chilling online messages with an Islamic State (IS) fighter in Syria calling himself Abu Hussain.

One message described an attack on military personnel which they compared to the brutal murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby in Woolwich in 2013.

Prosecutors claimed Hussain was British-born fanatic Junaid Hussain, who was killed in a US drone strike in the IS stronghold of Raqqa just weeks after his link with the planned UK attack was discovered.

After Khan's arrest, police found pictures on his phone of him posing in his bedroom with an Islamic State-style black flag later found in the attic. His computer was found to contain an al Qaida bomb manual and Amazon searches for a large combat knife.

Police officers had visited Khan as part of the national anti extremism programme Prevent, but he mocked the initiative in a series of WhatsApp messages.

Speaking after the conviction last month, Commander Dean Haydon, the head of Scotland Yard's SO15 counter-terrorism unit, said: "Junead Khan faces years in prison for the atrocious acts he planned.

"Around a year before his arrest, local officers reached out to him. They offered to help him follow a positive life path. Junead Khan's refusal spiralled into extremism and plotting acts of terrorism."

Khan will be sentenced on Friday at London's Kingston Crown Court after being found guilty of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts between May and July last year.

He was also convicted of a second charge, jointly with his uncle, Shazib Khan, 23, of preparing to go to Syria to join IS.