Middle East

Iraqi asylum seeker guilty of London Tube bombing

Emergency workers outside the Parsons Green station after botched bombing on 15 September 2017 (AFP)

An 18-year-old Iraqi asylum seeker was on Friday found guilty of attempted murder over the botched bombing of a rush-hour London Underground train that injured at least 30 people last September.

"The prosecution argued that Ahmed Hassan made this homemade bomb with the aim of indiscriminately killing as many people as possible. The jury has agreed," said Sue Hemming from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) after the verdict at London's Old Bailey.

Hassan left an improvised bucket bomb filled with shrapnel and homemade explosives known as the "mother of Satan" in a carriage carrying 93 passengers on 15 September 2017.

It partially exploded at Parsons Green tube station in west London, one stop after he disembarked.

Dean Haydon, head of Scotland Yard's Counter Terrorism Command, called Hassan "an intelligent and articulate individual that is devious and cunning in equal measures".

"He kept secret what he was planning and plotting. We describe him as a lone actor," Haydon said.

Commuter Stephen Nash earlier told jurors that he was on his way to work when he experienced a "blinding flash" before being "engulfed in flames".

"I was thrown to the ground," he testified. "The flames were overwhelming… it was intense heat, I thought I had lost my ears, I thought my head was on fire."

Fellow witness Aimee Colville said she heard a "loud bang" and "cracking" before "a wall of glass came across".

"That morning I had curled my hair and I had put hairspray in my hair so when the flames came over me my hair immediately caught fire," she added.

'Duty to hate Britain'

Hassan arrived in Britain in October 2015.

Katie Cable, a lecturer and mentor at a suburban college where Hassan studied media, told London's Old Bailey court that he had said he blamed Britain for the death of his parents in Iraq.

"It's my duty to hate Britain," she said he had told her.

Cable testified that she believed his father was blown up and his mother had been shot.

When Hassan came to Britain, he told authorities he feared the Islamic State group which he said had taken him by force and trained him on "how to kill" when he was in Iraq.

But the court also heard that the lecturer alerted a government terrorism prevention scheme of her concerns after she saw a message in August 2016 on his phone reading: "IS has accepted your donation."

Cable testified that Hassan talked about Tony Blair and expressed "anger" at events in Iraq, telling her "the British" were responsible for his parents' death.

Hassan has denied the charge of attempted murder and causing an explosion on a packed train on 15 September.

The attack, claimed by IS, was the fifth time Britain had been targeted in a six-month period.

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