Terror suspects target PM’s Downing Street office - Series of possible targets for Islamist militants in UK

LONDON: An armed police carries his automatic weapon as he walks on patrol outside 10 Downing Street in central London yesterday. Two men have been charged with a plot to kill British Prime Minister Theresa May. —AFP

LONDON: A 20-year-old man appeared in court yesterday charged with plotting to assassinate British Prime Minister Theresa May in a bomb and knife attack. Naa'imur Zakariyah Rahman is accused of planning an explosion outside May's Downing Street office then trying to enter the building with a suicide vest and a knife in a bid to kill her. State prosecutor Mark Carroll said Rahman planned to detonate an improvised explosive device at the Downing Street gates, then, in the ensuing chaos, try to enter the building "with a view to trying to kill the prime minister". He planned to use a suicide vest, pepper spray and a knife, Carroll told Westminster Magistrates Court in London.

Rahman had carried out hostile reconnaissance of the area as part of his preparation, it is alleged. Rahman is charged with preparing terrorist acts and also with assisting another man, Mohammad Aqib Imran, to prepare separate terror acts. He appeared in court alongside Imran, 21, who is accused of trying to join the Islamic State jihadist terror group by trying to obtain a fake passport with a view to travelling to Libya. The men were arrested on November 28. Rahman spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth. He said he was of no fixed abode and said his nationality was "Bangladeshi British. I'm Bangladeshi." Imran said he was "Pakistani British".

They both appeared wearing grey tracksuits. Rahman had long black hair while Imran had shorter hair and a beard. Lawyers for the pair gave no indication of their plea on their first court appearance so not guilty pleas were formally registered. The hearing lasted under 10 minutes. Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot remanded Rahman and Imran in custody to appear for a short hearing at England's Old Bailey central criminal court on December 20. The court appearance came a day after Home Secretary Amber Rudd told parliament that 22 Islamist terror plots had been thwarted since the killing of a British soldier on a London street by two Islamist extremists in 2013.

Picture of Prince George

Meanwhile, a British man posted a picture of Prince George, 4, and the address of his London school as part of a series of possible targets for Islamist militants, a court heard yesterday. Husnain Rashid, 31, is accused of posting information on the Telegram messaging service to encourage jihadis to carry out attacks along with information to help them with possible targets such as stadia. Prosecutor Rebecca Mundy told London's Westminster Magistrates Court that this included posting a picture of Prince George, son of Queen Elizabeth's grandson Prince William and Kate and destined to be the future king, next to a silhouette of a jihadi fighter.

The post included the address of his school in southwest London which he started attending in September and was accompanied with the caption "even the royal family will not be left alone", the court heard. Rashid, from Nelson in Lancashire, northern England, is charged with preparing terrorism acts, which involved plans to travel to Syria to engage in fighting, and preparing to assist others to commit terrorist acts. He did not apply for bail and indicated he would plead not guilty to the charges. He was remanded in custody until Dec 20 when he will appear at London's Old Bailey central criminal court.- Agencies