A man accused of involvement in an alleged al-Qaeda plot to bomb Britain told a jury on Friday he had talked of blowing up the House of Commons and killing all the MPs, including the prime minister. But Omar Khyam, 24, said he had been joking with friends as they sat watching prime minister's questions on television.
Khyam and six other men are on trial in London, accused of a terrorist plot to construct and explode bombs made from fertilizer. Taking the stand for the second day, Khyam denied claims by US supergrass Mohammed Junaid Babar that he discussed launching a bombing campaign in Britain. He told the court that he and three associates would watch the TV news, get frustrated and make comments about exploding bombs.
Khyam told the jury of one such episode: "I remember I was watching on a Wednesday, the prime minister's questions, and we just made a comment, `Can you imagine if you dropped a bomb right there and then? You would take out all the MPs.'"
Asked by his barrister, Joel Bennathan, who had made that comment, Khyam said it had been him. He said the others in the room had laughed. Asked by his barrister, "Was that a serious proposition," Khyam said, "No."
Asked: "Was it a plan you were working on," he gave the same answer. When asked, "Did you have any intention of carrying it out," he again said, "No."
Khyam said he talked "every day" about hitting the enemy in Afghanistan, and in Palestine, but that this was "just talk." He was "working for the cause in Afghanistan", and during a trip there had "probably" met people from al-Qaeda.
Khyam denied he had gone to a Pakistani terrorism training camp. He said aluminum powder found near a garden shed at his family home, which the prosecution allege was to be used in a bomb, was to be used for decorating.
He brought the powder back from Pakistan for his uncle, who has requested it. During a visit to a tribal area in Pakistan near the Afghan border, he visited a town where shops were full of cheap weapons, he said.
Khyam and six other men were arrested in 2004 after half a tonne of explosive fertilizer was found in a lock-up in west London.
The prosecution alleges they had al-Qaeda links and had discussed attacking utilities, the Ministry of Sound nightclub, in London, and the Bluewater shopping center, in Kent.