ISIS supporter tried to bomb Elton John concert in Hyde Park on 9/11 anniversary
A teenage Isis supporter has admitted plotting a terror attack potentially targeting an Elton John concert on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Haroon Syed, from Hounslow, pleaded guilty to the preparation of terrorist acts between April and September at the Old Bailey after a last-ditch attempt to get his case thrown out failed.
The court heard how Syed attempted to buy weapons online, including a bomb vest or explosives, and trawled the web to find crowded targets in London such as Oxford Circus for the massacre.
British intelligence agents posing as fellow extremists discussed sourcing weapons, with the 19-year-old, who asked for “gear” for his “opp” in online chats.
Judge Michael Topolski QC warned Syed that he faced a life sentence on Thursday, when he adjourned sentencing until June 8 for a probation and psychiatric report to be carried out.
Syed, whose older brother was jailed separately for plotting an Isis-inspired attack on Remembrance Day, was caught after making contact with a spy going under the name “Abu Yusuf” on his phone and social media.
When asked for details of his attack, he said he needed a machine gun and an explosive vest “so after some damage with machine gun do martyrdom…that’s what I’m planning to do”.
The pattern has been seen in numerous Isis-linked attacks, including in Paris in November 2015, when militants massacred members of the public with machine guns before detonating their suicide vests.
When Abu Yusuf said it would be costly, the defendant told him he was “broke” but pressed on, saying: “You have to find out the price for the machine gun, any gun.”
Syed backed out of the pair’s first planned meeting, because he knew he was being followed by police, but they later met at a Costa Coffee in Slough.
Discussions over making or getting hold of a bomb and acquiring a gun continued throughout August, although Syed admitted he had never used a firearm before.
On 30 August, he told the informant that he needed a “portable” device, adding: “I might put the bomb in the train and then I’m going to jump out so the bomb explodes on the train, so ask the brother if he can make that type of bomb with button.”
He made arrangements to pay £150 for the device the following week, asking Abu Yusuf to ensure it was packed with nails and adding: “I was thinking of Oxford Street…if I go to prison, I go to prison. If I die, I die, you understand.”
The teenager had searched the internet for Isis, previous terror attacks and potential targets including an Elton John concert in Hyde Park that was held on 11 September.
Police arrested Syed three days before at his home in Hounslow, West London.