Thwarted Vietnamese-British Suicide Bomber Tells FBI He Was Instructed to Target Israelis, Americans at Heathrow Airport
A Vietnamese worker from south London was instructed by a senior Al-Qaeda operative how to build a bomb with which to attack Heathrow Airport, where he was to target Israeli and American arrivals, the UK’s Daily Mail reported on Sunday.
According to the report, based on documents obtained by The Sunday Times, Minh Quang Pham, who joined the Yemen-based terror group Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), told FBI interrogators that he had spent a day training with senior AQAP member Anwar al-Awlaki, whom he had approached to offer himself as a suicide-bomber.
After pleading guilty to terrorism charges in a New York City court, the report said, Pham, 33, faces a possible 50-year jail sentence. Awlaki was killed in a 2011 drone strike in Yemen.
Court transcripts published in The Sunday Times revealed:
“Awlaki ultimately gave Pham approximately 6,000 euros [£4,725] in case Pham had any unforeseen expenses during his attack preparation,” and “Pham planned on using the money to rent a house in the UK to construct the explosive device and to purchase the chemicals and other materials needed for the attack,” which he was to conceal in a backpack.
Pham, however, never managed to carry out the attack, as he was arrested at Heathrow in July 2011, upon his return from a six-month stay in Yemen, “where he used his college degrees in graphic design and animation to edit videos and photos for propaganda in Inspire,” the AQAP’s English-language online magazine used by the group as a recruitment and information tool.
Prosecutors at his trial underscored that Boston Marathon terrorist Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had told the FBI that he and his brother had learned how to create their bombs from Inspire. Prosecutors also pointed out that AQAP took credit for the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris in 2015, according to the Daily Mail.
Pham was extradited to the United States from Britain about a year ago.