Al-Qaeda bomb-maker who plotted knife attack on MPs in Westminster jailed for three life sentences

AN Al Qaida bomb-maker was today sentenced to three life sentences for plotting a knife attack on MPs and police outside the Houses of Parliament.

Plumber Khalid Ali, 28, had recently returned from a five-year stint making bombs in Afghanistan when he was tackled to the ground by counter-terror cops in Parliament Square last year.

Khalid Ali, 28, was today jailed
Khalid Ali, 28, was today jailed
PA:Press Association

Hero gun cops found him armed with three knives, with Ali found guilty of preparing terrorist acts in Britain and two charges of possessing explosive substances with intent abroad after an Old Bailey trial in June.

The plumber had been monitored by cops since he returned from Afghanistan, where he spent five years making Taliban bombs used to maim and kill coalition troops.

Ali, who grew up in Edmonton, had returned to the UK to “deliver a message” and launched his attack on April 27 last year.

He was today sentenced to jail with a minimum term of 40 years at the Old Bailey by Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC.

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Khalid Ali was carrying three knives when he was tackled by armed officers near Downing Street in April 2017
PA:Press Association
This was the moment Ali was detained in Whitehall on April 27 last year
PA:Press Association
These were the three knives that were retrieved from Ali when he was detained
PA:Press Association

The court had heard Ali’s family in Edmonton, north London, reported him missing in June 2011 after he disappeared without warning.

He resurfaced at the British Consulate in Turkey more than five years later, claiming he had lost his passport.

In November 2016, the loyal Taliban and Al Qaida follower, was stopped at Heathrow airport, interviewed by police and his fingerprints and DNA samples were taken.

He told officers he had been involved in a Road to Hope convoy to Palestine in 2010 and then went to Pakistan after MI5 had tried to recruit him as a “James Bond” type spy.

On March 18 last year, he carried out reconnaissance under the cover of a Stand Up To Racism march, which took him past Downing Street and the Cenotaph
PA:Press Association
Ali was spotted speaking to officers outside the gates of Downing Street on March 18 2017
PA:Press Association
Jurors were shown photographs of the detonators Khalid Ali used to make bombs in Afghanistan
PA:Press Association

In late 2016, Ali’s DNA and fingerprints were shared with the FBI agents and 42 prints linked him on two loads of IEDs found in Afghanistan in 2012.

Meanwhile, he had resolved to carry out an attack on Westminster to “send a message” to British authorities, jurors were told.

On March 18, he carried out reconnaissance under the cover of a Stand up to Racism march, which took him past Downing Street and the Cenotaph.

On April 22, he was caught on CCTV walking past the MI6 building at Vauxhall Cross, as well as Westminster Bridge, the Houses of Parliament and Whitehall.

Just after midnight on April 27, his mother called police, saying she had found four knives in her son’s bedroom and she was scared he was going to kill the family.

The court heard that Ali had bought the blades two days before at The Mighty Pound in Ealing, west London, and had been seen by surveillance officers to throw away the packaging.

Plumber Ali had been monitored by cops after returning from Afghanistan
Plumber Ali had been monitored by cops after returning from Afghanistan
PA:Press Association
Jurors were told Ali’s mother contacted police the evening prior to the thwarted attack after finding knives in her son’s north London bedroom
© Julia Quenzler

After leaving his mother’s home, Ali went to Ealing, where he set about rearming himself with an 8in chef’s knife and two 3.4in paring blades from Wilko, also purchasing kitchen utensils including a potato masher as cover.

He also bought a rucksack with a Union flag and London logo on it, before travelling by Tube to carry out his attack, which came just four weeks after the Westminster Bridge killings.

He deliberately dropped his mobile phone into the Thames, but it was later recovered by police divers.

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When armed police moved in to arrest Ali, the knives were seized from his jacket pockets and the waistband of his tracksuit bottoms.

In police interview, Ali said he wanted to deliver a “message” to British authorities, but claimed the knives were for protection.

He admitted involvement in IEDs in Afghanistan, even bragging he detonated more than 300 devices, although he later backtracked.

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