London: A man has been charged with planning to assassinate British Prime Minister Theresa May by bombing his way into her Downing Street residence and blowing himself up.
The plot was foiled by MI5, Britain’s domestic security agency, and counter terror police with his arrest last week.
Naa‘imur Rahman, 20, of north London, was on Wednesday remanded in custody along with his co-defendant Mohammed Imran, 21, of Birmingham after appearing at Westminster Magistrates Court.
Prosecutor Mark Carroll told the court that Rahman planned to detonate an improvised explosive device at the security gate of 10 Downing Street and carry out the next attack in May’s residence with a suicide vest.
Imran is also charged with preparing to commit acts of terrorism, Carroll said, adding that he was accused of trying to join the Islamic State in Libya.
The two accused did not apply for bail. They will appear at London’s Old Bailey central criminal court on December 20.
Details of the terror plot emerged during a briefing to cabinet by MI5 head Andrew Parker. He said they foiled as many as nine terror plots in the past 12 months. Five terror attacks left had 36 people dead in the past few months in London and Manchester.
Britain’s official terrorist threat level is at severe, meaning an attack is highly likely.
Just hours before that briefing, a report on the Manchester terror attack said the incident could have been averted if MI5 had acted on an intelligence on Salman Abedi who detonated a bomb killing 22 people.
The report by David Anderson, the UK’s former independent reviewer of terror legislation, said the attack took place nine days before MI5 was planning to discuss action to be taken against him after they found he was one among the few suspects worthy of closer investigation.
Quoting another case, the report said the mastermind of June’s London Bridge attack, Khuram Butt, was actively under investigation at the time of the attack as part of an operation that was opened in 2015.
The report said MI5 and counter terror police are not coordinating well while working together and sharing intelligence with local police forces and authorities.
It called for greater use of technology so MI5 can quickly processes data to identify terror suspects from its watch list. It also sought closer collaboration with technology companies such as Amazon, Facebook and Google.