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Jury sees photographs of men in al-Qaeda type drills

(The Scotsman) FOOTAGE that allegedly shows a group of men practising military-style techniques in a New Forest terror training camp has been seen by a jury.

A British Army officer told a court that the drills were similar to those of al-Qaeda insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He said the mobile phone footage, shot in Hampshire, was also reminiscent of basic Army training.

Five men all deny charges of being involved in setting up training camps.

Among them is Mohammed Hamid, 50, who prosecutors say set up camps attended by the 21 July bomb plotters. The other men, all from London, are Mousa Brown, Kibley da Costa, Mohammed Al-Figari and Kader Ahmed.

Woolwich Crown Court was told the series of short clips were recovered from a computer owned by one of the five men on trial.

The officer, referred to in court as soldier A, described how the activities were similar in some ways to basic Army training.

He described the participants leopard crawling, conducting forward rolls, wrestling and jumping across streams.

He commented on one drill in which men bounced on their knees between two positions while holding a large stick in front of them.
He said: “I have seen that used as a method of carrying a weapon system. It is not something that is taught by the British Army.

“I have seen it used by insurgents while in Iraq and the Taleban in Afghanistan. It is a favoured position of insurgents and Taleban.”

Prosecutor David Farrell QC then asked the expert witness: “With what type of weapon?” He replied: “An AK-47.”

The court heard yesterday how the men travelled to the New Forest on 28 April, 2006, for a four-day camp.

It was one of a series of trips including paintballing, camping in the Lake District and visits to an Islamic centre in East Sussex.

Soldier A served as an infantry platoon commander on three active tours and now works as a British Army instructor.

He told the court how leopard crawling might be used to approach an enemy while wrestling and other drills could improve agility.

Asked what the point of one exercise in which the men could be seen conducting forward rolls he replied: “No tactical use whatsoever.”

One video showed the men attempting to jump across a stream in a wooded area, cheered on by the camera operator.

As one participant struggled to cross and eventually fell in, the court, including some of the defendants and jury, erupted in laughter.

Silent footage from a motion-sensitive camera hidden by police in the woods was also shown to soldier A.

The footage revealed a group of men undertaking exercises in a forest clearing.

Soldier A said the group practised a “fireman’s lift”, which could be used to evacuate soldiers from a battlefield.

Earlier, the court heard evidence from an undercover police officer who infiltrated the group claiming he wanted to convert to Islam.

The officer attended a number of meetings at defendant Mohammed Hamid’s home in Clapton, east London, and eventually a number of the alleged training camps.

He said Hamid’s defendant, Kibley Da Costa, admitted the group were “extreme” during a car journey after a meeting the week before the New Forest camp.

He told the court: “He was talking about the meeting. He said to take everything ‘gradual’. He said the group were extreme, but it was the right way to be.

“He also said we are not to attend Brixton mosque next door to the police station because he said the Muslims were a bit too good and worked for the government.”

The meeting itself was recorded on a bugging device hidden in Hamid’s home by police in September 2005.

In one conversation played to the court yesterday Hamid tells a group of young men that they must be trained.

He said: “Remember this, Allah has turned around and said every Muslim should be fully trained.

“He should be able to take on two kuffar (non-believers), right, he should be ready for Jihad.”

The trial continues.


October 30, 2007 - Posted by | Blogroll, Homeland security, news, personal, politics, random, religion, Terrorism, Terrorism In The U.S., Terrorism News, Uncategorized, War-On-Terror

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