Three men convicted of plotting to bomb airplanes flying from London to North America with liquid explosives hidden in soft drink bottles were sentenced to life imprisonment, a judge announced Monday.
The judge, Justice Richard Henriques, called the plot "the most grave and wicked conspiracy ever proven within this jurisdiction."
The plan involved putting liquid exploisives into empty bottles of Lucozade and Oasis, colouring the liquid so it appeared to be the same as the original. The bombs would have bypassed airport security, and tests by government scientists showed they were capable of blowing a hole in the skin of an aircraft.
The investigation and trials are estimated to have cost £35m. Uncovering and ultimately destroying the cell, based in east London and High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, was the biggest counter-terrorism operation in UK history, involving hundreds of police officers and MI5 agents. Henriques said the plot was driven by Islamic extremism and was an act of revenge against governments with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, rather than an attempt to change foreign policy. "Ultimate control of this conspiracy lay in Pakistan," he said.
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