Two men accused in UK of plotting ISIS-style machine gun terror attack on Jews

Court told the two planned to gun down Jews in Manchester; chief rabbi says news ‘harrowing’; police say they believe there is ‘no longer a wider risk to the public’

Illustrative: Police officers guard the gates to Downing Street in London, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017.  (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Illustrative: Police officers guard the gates to Downing Street in London, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

LONDON, UK — Two men accused of plotting to gun down Jews in an Islamic State-inspired attack in northwest England were held without bail Tuesday after appearing in a London court.

Walid Saadaoui, 36, and Amar Hussein, 50, were accused of planning to use machine guns to kill Jews, police and military personnel, prosecutors said in Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

The duo face charges of preparing terrorist acts between December 13 and May 9.

A third man, Bilel Saadaoui, 35, was accused of making arrangements for the expected death of his brother, co-defendant Walid Saadaoui.

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

Defense lawyer Angelo Saponiere said Bilel Saadaoui was a family man unaware of the alleged plot.

The three were arrested last week by Greater Manchester Police. They were held without bail and are scheduled to appear May 24 for a hearing in the Central Criminal Court.

The charges come as incidents of antisemitism in the UK hit a record high last year — with a spike following Hamas’s Oct. 7 brutal terror attack on Israel, in which some 1,200 people were killed in Israel and 252 were taken hostage.

An anti-Israel activist shouts through a loudspeaker on a march through London, during a National Day of Action for Palestine on March 9, 2024. (Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS / AFP)

Jewish security advisory body, the Community Security Trust, said the allegations were very serious.

“This is one of a number of recent and ongoing cases that demonstrate why the Jewish community needs such extensive security measures,” Amanda Bomsztyk, northern regional director of the trust said.

“It is harrowing to read reports of an alleged terror attack targeting the Jewish community,” said UK Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis. “I’d like to thank British security services and the Police for their tireless work to keep our country and our communities safe.”

“This news underlines just how essential their work is and gives us the confidence to maintain the vitality of Jewish community life across the country,” he said, also thanking CST.

Police said they recognized the impact the details of the plot could have on the Jewish community, adding they did not believe there was a wider risk to the public.

“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,” said Assistant Chief Constable Rob Potts.

“We know how significant the impact of this will be,” he added, “particularly for our Jewish community in Greater Manchester and across the country.”

The Jewish Chronicle reported that Potts issued a statement saying, “Everyone should feel safe in our region regardless of their religion or race.

“We have been working closely with community groups and key stakeholders to address concerns and we’ll continue to update them throughout this case.

“Local officers across Greater Manchester will continue to listen and act on concerns alongside partners to protect the public and keep you safe.

“The action we have taken so far follows a long-running and carefully managed investigation, and we do not believe that there is a wider risk to the public connected to this case.

“Should you have any concerns about your safety or any suspicious activity in your area, then I would encourage you to contact the police.”

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