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UK

"Osama bin London" jailed for 7-1/2 years

LONDON (Reuters) - A Tanzanian-born Muslim who dubbed himself “Osama bin London” was jailed for 7-1/2 years on Friday after being found guilty of encouraging his followers to murder non-believers and of running terrorist training camps.

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Mohammed Hamid, 50, who came to England when he was five, was convicted at Woolwich Crown Court last month.

Atilla Ahmet, 43, the so-called emir of the group, who once boasted of being al Qaeda’s top figure in Europe, was sentenced to 6 years and 11 months after admitting three charges of soliciting murder.

Hamid’s trial was closely watched as he was an inspiration for the men who tried to carry out botched suicide bombings on London’s transport system on July 21, 2005, two weeks after 52 civilians were killed by four suicide bombers in a similar attack.

Prosecutors said Ahmet and Hamid prepared the men for jihad, or holy war, by organising terrorism training disguised as camping or paintballing trips in rural locations around Britain.

An undercover officer once heard a conversation in which Hamid boasted of wanting to carry a murderous attack, saying he wanted to kill more than 52. “Fifty-two, that’s not even a breakfast for me,” he said, referring to the July 7 attacks.

Peter Clarke, an assistant commissioner at London’s Metropolitan Police, said after their convictions: “Hamid and Ahmet are dangerous people who between them carried out the recruitment, grooming and terrorist training of young men.”

The court heard that when Hamid was once briefly detained in October 2004 at a stall in the capital’s Oxford Street shopping area, he told police he was “Osama bin London” and claimed to have a bomb.

Ahmet had discussed giving TV interviews in which he had been referred to as al Qaeda’s number one in Europe.

Hamid and Ahmet were arrested in London in September 2006 after a months-long intelligence operation.

Reporting by Avril Ormsby; Editing by Luke Baker

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