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3 jailed in UK for engaging in 'cyber jihad'

July 06, 2007 19:48 IST
Three Al Qaeda inspired extremists including their Morocco-born leader who dubbed himself "the jihadist James Bond" have been jailed in Britain for engaging in 'cyber-jihad' by inciting terrorism on the Internet.

Younes Tsouli, 23, who used the online name "Irhabi007," -- Arabic word for terrorist and the code number of British spy James Bond -- ran an Internet site that regularly featured videos of the beheadings of hostages held by jihadists, including those of Americans Nick Berg and Daniel Pearl. He was sentenced to serve ten years in jail.

His accomplices Tariq al-Daour and Waseem Mughal were sentenced to jail for 6 1/2 years and 7 1/2 years respectively for their role in promoting and advising would-be terrorists through online forums and websites.

Daour was also involved in a 1.8 million pounds fraud.

One of the messages on their forum was about a plot by 45 doctors to explode a car bomb at an American naval base. This is the first prosecution based entirely on the distribution of jihadi materials via the Internet.

Passing sentence on Thursday, Justice Openshaw of the Woolwich Crown Court in southeast London described the men as having engaged in 'cyber-jihad' and having encouraged others to kill 'non-believers'.

"Much of the material was directed at young men, who are more likely to be impressionable and are, of course, of military age. Much of it does amount to incitement to commit murder by way of encouragement to join the call to arms, to participate in jihad, to go on and commit an act of terrorism.

Some of the material went farther and amounted to a direct and obvious incitement to murder," the judge said.

He ordered that Tsouli be deported to Morocco, his birthplace, after the sentence. The court was told that the men had close links with Al Qaeda.

The judge dismissed claims from Tsouli's defence counsel, Alan Hedworth, QC, that his client had changed his opinions since his arrest two years ago.

All three sat through a two-month trial before changing their pleas to guilty this week.

All were students who lived with their parents in London and Kent. They admitted inciting another person to commit an act of terrorism wholly or partly outside Britain, that would constitute murder if committed in England or Wales.

They also admitted conspiring together and with others to defraud banks, credit card companies and charge card companies. Al-Daour pleaded guilty to a further count of conspiracy to defraud.

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