Relief unabated after transatlantic terror convictions

By Alex Stevenson

The conviction of three terrorists for a plot to destroy transatlantic airliners has prompted a wave of relief from government ministers, past and present.

This morning ex-security minister Tony McNulty told the BBC the convictions were a “vindication” for the crown prosecution service, the police and the security services.

They had faced difficulties with the case after the jury in the first trial failed to reach unity on their guilt.

Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 28, Tanvir Hussain, 28, and Assad Sarwar, 29, were found guilty of conspiracy to activate bombs disguised as soft drinks at Woolwich crown court yesterday.

Mr McNulty praised those responsible for “sticking with it” after they had been convicted on a lesser charge of conspiracy to cause explosions last September.

Following the uncovering of the plot in 2006 security at airports was ramped up, with passengers banned from taking liquids on board.

“I’m certainly gratified the jury has confirmed there was indeed a plot to bring down an aircraft as a means of mass murder,” Tony Blair’s last home secretary John Reid told the BBC.

The current man in the Home Office, Alan Johnson, yesterday made clear his relief, saying he was “pleased” by the verdict.

“This was the largest ever counterterrorism operation in the UK and I cannot thank enough those involved for their professionalism and dedication in thwarting this attack and saving thousands of lives,” he said.

Writing in today’s Sun, Mr Blair expressed his own gratitude to the security services.

“These dedicated men and women work tirelessly behind the scenes, whose names we will often never know, unable to get the full, public credit they deserve,” he wrote.

“I know we are all safer because of their work.”

It emerged this morning the main link between the plotters and al-Qaida was a British man, Rashid Rauf, who is now believed to be dead.