'Three Musketeers' get life for Lee Rigby-style terror plot

Police sting operation foils plans for lethal 'Lee Rigby-style' attack, but some ask why men were allowed to mingle in prison

Three musketeers terror plot
(Image credit: West Midlands police/PA)

Three men who called themselves the "Three Musketeers" were sentenced to life in prison today for conspiring to murder members of the police or military.

Naweed Ali, Mohibur Rahman and Khobaib Hussain were told they must serve a minimum of 20 years behind bars.

A fourth defendant, Tahir Aziz, was given a term of at least 15 years for his role in the terror plot.

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They were found guilty by a unanimous jury verdict at the Old Bailey in London yesterday.

The men were arrested in August 2016, following an elaborate counter-terrorism sting set up by West Midlands police and MI5.

Officers created a fake delivery company, Hero Couriers, complete with corporate logo, vehicles, a city-centre depot and an undercover officer posing as its boss. They then trapped Hussain and Ali, who were employed as drivers, reports The Guardian.

A "banal … technical operation" to bug Ali's car led to the unexpected discovery of weaponry, including an imitation handgun, a pipe bomb and a meat cleaver carved with the word "kafir" (unbeliever), the BBC reports.

Prosecution lawyers argued they were probably planning an imminent "Lee Rigby-style" attack on a police or military target, added the Guardian.

The Independent says that Hussain and Ali, despite being previously jailed for terrorism offences, were allowed to live as neighbours upon their release, while the third "musketeer", Rahman, met the duo while in Belmarsh prison.

David Videcette, a former counter-terrorism detective, said the security services were "very lucky" to have caught the men in time.

"It's extremely worrying that individuals previously imprisoned for terrorism do not have their risk assessments upgraded," he told the paper.

DCS Matt Ward, the head of West Midlands counter-terrorism unit, told the Guardian that "more needs to be done" in prisons and after the release of individuals in order to prevent terror atrocities from happening.

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