Two men sentenced to life in prison for plotting UK shooting

British court sentences two men to life in prison for plotting DAESH-inspired shootings in London

Photo by: AP (Archive )
Photo by: AP (Archive )

Special armed police forces patrol near the Old Bailey court in London, March 14, 2016.

Two men who plotted drive-by shootings in London targeting soldiers and police, and were inspired by the DAESH terror group, received life sentences at a British court on Friday.

Ringleader Tarik Hassane, 22, will serve a minimum of 21 years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to murder and preparation of terrorist acts.

Suhaib Majeed, also aged 22, will be in jail for at least 20 years after conviction on the same charges following a trial at the Old Bailey court last month.

London's Old Bailey court heard that Hassane had identified potential targets including a police station and an army reserve barracks, both in west London.

Acting on his instructions, Majeed had acquired a gun and ammunition and was discussing the purchase of a moped before his arrest in 2014.

Passing sentence, Judge Alan Wilkie said it was "shocking" that two men educated in Britain should be so influenced “by DAESH and other similarly minded groups, that you decided to take up arms against your fellow British citizens."

Hassane, who studied medicine in Sudan and was nicknamed "The Surgeon", had admitted visiting Syria in 2013 and learning how to handle guns, the judge said.

He raised thousands of pounds to support violent acts in Syria, Wilkie added.

In his confession, Hassane said he was in a "bubble" when he had plotted the attacks, adding: "I really doubt I could have ever done this."

Commander Dean Haydon, head of the Metropolitan Police's counter-terrorism command, told reporters at a briefing in March that their plot had "evolved and become more complex than other attacks we've seen here in the UK in recent years involving DAESH."

"This is about acquiring a moped, committing a drive-by shooting, acquiring a firearm, a silencer and ammunition, and in almost broad daylight targeting police officers and the military and members of the public and making good their escape," Haydon added.

Prime Minister David Cameron said in December that British security services had foiled seven plots in the previous year.