Two men appear in court accused of plotting to carry out gun attack on Jewish community

14 May 2024, 16:18

The men appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
The men appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court on Tuesday. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

Two men have appeared in court over an alleged plot to carry out an Islamic State-inspired gun attack against the Jewish community.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Walid Saadaoui, 36, and Amar Hussein, 50, were arrested at addresses in Wigan and Bolton last week over an alleged terror attack plot.

The plot was designed to cause "multiple fatalities using automatic weapons" in north-west England, Westminster Magistrates' Court heard on Tuesday.

They appeared in court on Tuesday, charged with the preparation of terrorist acts between 13 December 2023 and 9 May 2024.

The two men had intended to target "the Jewish community in the North West of England and members of both law enforcement and military" as part of an "Isil or Daesh-inspired terrorist attack", prosecutors told the court.

Bilel Saadaoui, 35, also appeared at court accused of making arrangements for Walid Saadaoui - his brother - after his death.

He pleaded not guilty to a charge of failing to disclose information about an act of terrorism between the same dates.

Hussein, who represented himself and had an interpreter, did not speak to confirm his name, date of birth or address.

The other two men spoke only to confirm their identities.

Read more: Two guards shot dead and gang boss nicknamed ‘The Fly’ on the run after gunmen attack police van in Normandy

Read more: Nottingham triple killer Valdo Calocane to stay in secure hospital despite victims' families campaign, judges rule

Angelo Saponiere, defending Bilel Saadaoui, said his client was a "family man" who had not known of the alleged plans.

Ahead of the plot, Bilel was allegedly given his brother’s will, along with £17,000 in cash and a key to another safe containing £75,000.

Prosecutor Rebecca Waller told the court: “Mr Saadoui and Mr Hussein, are said to have planned a Daesh-inspired terrorist attack in the UK during which they intended to cause multiple fatalities using automatic weapons.

“The main targets of their attack plans were the Jewish community in the northwest of England and members of both law enforcement and military.

“Both defendants took significant steps to prepare, and by May 2024 had reached the point at which, they believed, they were in a position in which they were ready to launch the attack. Bilel Saadoui is Walid Saadoaui’s younger brother.

“The evidence the Crown say indicates that Bilel Saadaoui was the trusted confidante for his brother knowing he was making plans.”

GMP assistant chief constable Rob Potts, who holds responsibility for counter-terrorism policing in the North West, said after the hearing: "Today's first court appearance has outlined some concerning and distressing details about a suspected terrorist plot that we allege was being planned by suspects from Greater Manchester.

"Firstly, we know how significant the impact of this will be. Particularly for our Jewish community in Greater Manchester and across the country.

"We have worked closely with the Community Security Trust, community groups and key stakeholders prior to today's hearing, and we will continue to update them and support them throughout the course of this case.

"The wider public will understandably be alarmed too.

"Our preventative action has followed a long-running and carefully-managed investigation.

"We are committed to making sure all communities are safe, and we do not currently believe there is any wider risk directly connected to this case."

Amanda Bomsztyk, northern regional director of the Community Security Trust, said: "These are very serious allegations of a plan to commit a terrorist attack against British Jews at a time of record antisemitic hate crime levels.

"This is one of a number of recent and ongoing cases that demonstrate why the Jewish community needs such extensive security measures and why our continuing partnership with police and Government is so vital.

"CST thanks Greater Manchester Police and other agencies for their work in this case, and we will continue to work closely with police to provide reassurance and protection for the Jewish community.

"We urge everyone in the community to continue as normal, remain alert and report any antisemitism or suspicious activity at Jewish locations to CST and to the police."