British Airways expert planned new 9/11

Steve Swann|BBC

Rajib Karim

A former British Airways worker has been convicted of four counts of preparing acts of terrorism. Rajib Karim’s trial revealed new details about how Islamist extremists in the West forge links with groups overseas.

The British Airways worker was acting under orders from Anwar Al-Awlaki, described in court as a “major terrorist planner,” who exerts a powerful influence on his followers, despite being on the run in Yemen.

Trial testimony also suggests Karim had developed links with sympathisers in the UK, including another man who worked at BA.

But Karim’s journey to jihad began on the other side of the world, when both he and his brother Tehzeeb turned towards al-Qaeda’s world view.

The brothers, who are from a wealthy family in Bangladesh, began following radical Islamist thinking over the internet and in study circles.

Along with friends who were educated at the same private school, they supported Jammat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) which fought to establish an Islamic state in the country.

The group, banned in both Bangladesh and the UK, launched a violent bombing campaign in 2005 – but its leaders were arrested and later executed.

With the group in disarray, the brothers wanted to seek new outlets to satisfy their dream of dying as martyrs.

But Rajib Karim’s ambitions were put on hold. He had travelled to the UK with his British wife to seek medical attention for their sick young son.

Meanwhile, Tehzeeb had successfully travelled to Yemen where the group al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula had established a base.

He succeeded in getting an audience with Anwar Al-Awlaki, whom, in messages, the brothers referred to reverentially as “professor.”

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