On Tuesday, 13 September, Westminster Magistrates’ Court saw the appearance of 19-year-old Haroon Ali-Syed, who was arrested on 8 September on suspicion of planning to carry out a terror attack on key London landmarks ‘on the scale of 7/7’.
Prosecutor Thomas Halpin spoke at the hearing and announced to the court that ‘The allegation is that [Haroon Ali-Syed] was planning a terrorist attack in the UK.’
It is alleged that the teenager from the West London borough of Hounslow planned to launch the mass-casualty assault on tourist attraction and London home to the Royal Family, Buckingham Palace, as an online search had revealed it to be the ‘most crowded place in London’. Other potential targets allegedly considered for the attack included Oxford Circus and UK military bases.
Ali-Syed’s arrest came after a five-month police operation that was conducted between April and September 2016. During that time, he is alleged to have made efforts to obtain weapons online including guns and an explosive device. He also attempted to obtain bank loans to pay for the weaponry
Ali-Syed was charged under the 2006 Terrorism Act with ‘the intention of committing acts of terrorism engaged in conduct in preparation for giving effect to that intention’ from 12 April until 9 September of this year.
The court hearing on Tuesday afternoon lasted eleven minutes and District Judge Elizabeth Roscoe announced to all assembled that the defendant he would be remanded in custody until a hearing at the Old Bailey on September 19. She said, ‘I am sending this case to be dealt with at the Central Criminal Court, which is the Old Bailey. All future hearings will be at that court.’
During the brief hearing Ali-Syed spoke only to confirm his name, age and address.
Two other men arrested at the same time as Ali-Seyed have been released on bail and a further investigation is pending.