Police foiled an Islamic State plot to set off a homemade mobile phone bomb in Britain in the run-up to Christmas, it emerged yesterday.
Asylum seeker Munir Hassan Mohammed, 35, was charged with terror offences along with Rowaida El Hassan, 32.
The accused man and woman were arrested with four others during raids in Derby, Burton upon Trent and London earlier this month. Just a week later, 12 shoppers were killed at a Berlin Christmas market in a lorry attack claimed by IS.
Asylum seeker Munir Hassan Mohammed, 35,(right) was charged with terror offences along with Rowaida El Hassan, 32 (left)
The other four suspects were later released, but Mohammed, of Derby, and El Hassan, from Kilburn, north London, were charged with eight terror offences between them and appeared in court on Christmas Eve.
Westminster magistrates heard that Mohammed, an Eritrean seeking asylum in Britain, was a member of IS who was allegedly preparing to blow up an unknown target in the lead up to Christmas.
He had a manual on how to make bombs from mobile phones which he sent to other potential terrorist recruits, it was claimed. El Hassan is accused of helping him prepare for an attack, as well as owning similar terrorist materials.
The pair, who are thought to have met online, appeared in the dock flanked by five police officers. Neither indicated a plea.
Mohammed is facing six charges, including one of plotting to commit an act of terror sometime between the anniversary of the 7/7 bombing on July 7 and December 13 this year.
He is also charged with one count of belonging to a banned organisation, namely IS, and two counts of possessing a record likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.
The pair appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court, charged with terrorism offences
El Hassan, who wore a green hijab in court, was charged with two counts, including one of engaging in the preparation of an act of terrorism and one of possessing terrorist material.
She also allegedly sent terrorist material to others online. Police said they could not be sure exactly where or what had been the target of the suspected attackers, but it is alleged that there was a plan to set off an explosive in the run-up to Christmas.
Officers added that there was nothing to suggest the alleged plot was linked to the murders in Germany last week.
A spokesman for North East Counter Terrorism Unit said: ‘We believe there was a plan to do something before Christmas … but in terms of identifying targets we don’t think they got as far as identifying specific areas.’
Mohammed and El Hassan were remanded in custody to appear at the Old Bailey on January 12.