Teenager Guilty of Planning Terror Attack on British Museum, Exposed by MI5 Spies

Published June 6th, 2018 - 05:00 GMT
Safaa Boular (Twitter)
Safaa Boular (Twitter)

MI5 spies posed as an ISIS commander to trick Britain's youngest female terrorist into discussing a plot to attack London tourist hotspots.

Safaa Boular, 18, was yesterday found guilty of planning a machine gun and grenade assault on the British Museum and the MI6 headquarters as part of an all-female 'hit squad' alongside her mother Mina Dich, sister Rizlaine, 22, and family friend Khawla Barghouthi, 21.

Boular had been radicalised online by British Pakistani national Naweed Hussain, who joined ISIS in Syria in June 2015 and urged her to commit atrocities in the UK before marrying her in an internet ceremony when she was 16.

Hussain, whom Boular had never met, died in a drone strike last year but had previously spoken to MI5 officers posing as eastern European ISIS converts, who then reached out to his 'wife'.

According to the Times, they then posed as his unit commander and a jihadi widow to convince Boular to discuss obtaining weapons for the British Museum plot.

She was already on MI5's watchlist along with her sister over their plans to travel to Syria and the teenager, then 17, was arrested and had her passport seized.

Boular has also been caught on CCTV taking a selfie near the MI6 headquarters during a chilling 'reconnaissance' mission.

Even after Safaa was arrested she made phone calls to her sister from behind bars urging her to carry on the plot through coded messages about a 'Mad Hatter's tea party'.

Rizlaine, 22, was later shot by anti-terror officers as she and friend Khawla Barghouthi were arrested last year in a raid in Harlesden, north west London.

Now all face jail when they are sentenced over the coming weeks, with Safaa set to return to the dock in six weeks and the other three due in court on June 15.

Boular made no reaction in the dock as she was found guilty by a jury after two days of deliberations.

Judge Mark Dennis QC put off sentencing for around six weeks for a report to be compiled.

The schoolgirl originally plotted to join him in Syria where they would don suicide belts and 'depart the world holding hands.'

But the plans were foiled when her passport was seized after she was arrested at the airport after a family holiday in Morocco.

She was kept in custody as police uncovered details of her plans to carry out a kamikaze attack at the British Museum with grenades and firearms.

Following her arrest, Safaa encouraged her older sister Rizlaine, 22, to pick up her mantle and launch a knife attack at the Palace of Westminster.

Her mother, 44-year-old hardline fundamentalist Mina Dich, also encouraged her daughters to carry out atrocities and even drove Rizlaine around tourist hotspots and bought a selection of knives and a rucksack.

Rizlaine was shot and wounded by armed police as she and a friend were arrested at an address in Harlesden, north London, on 27 April last year.

Dich was arrested as she visited Safaa at a Kent detention centre later the same day.

The mother and Rizlaine admitted engaging in preparation for terrorist acts while another woman, Rizlaine's friend Khawla Barghouthi, 21 admitted failing to disclose information about an act of terrorism.

Safaa normally wore a full-body burka but donned Western clothes throughout her trial in an attempt to convince jurors she had spurned the twisted fundamentalism that made her a so-called 'Sister of Terror'.

 

 

Her mother had brought up Safaa and Rizlaine up as strict Muslims in a home that was 'all Islam,' the Old Bailey heard.

Safraa had never met ISIS fighter Hussain face to face, but he persuaded her to send him intimate pictures of herself and they were set to marry in a bizarre Skype ceremony.

He instructed her to stab strangers outside the 'cultural jewel and most popular of tourist attractions.'

When it became clear they would never meet after police seized her passport following an airport stop, their focus switched to an attack in the UK.

Meanwhile, she had contact with a de-radicaliser in December 2016 and signed a form promising not to contact her sister or Hussain, although she secretly continued to speak to both.

In March 2017, just one month before Rizlaine Boular's planned knife attack, the teenager was heard laughing at the Westminster Bridge atrocity, although she denied it.

Senior National Coordinator for Counter Terrorism Dean Haydon described Boular as mature for her age, confident and devious in the way she secretly plotted.

But since being held in custody at Medway Secure Training Centre, Boular insisted she had changed.

She told jurors she has turned her back on her radical past and taken to wearing Western dress.

Safaa normally wore a full-body burka but donned Western clothes throughout her trial in an attempt to convince jurors she had spurned the twisted fundamentalism that made her a 'Sister of Terror.'

Her mother had brought up Safaa and Rizlaine up as strict Muslims in a home that was 'all Islam,' the Old Bailey heard.

The girls were allowed to wear just headdresses with Western clothes - until Safaa was caught chatting to boys on her mobile phone when she was 13.

The enraged mother forced her to wear a full-length burka and took her phone away.

Safaa called Childline and ran away from home in 2014 after feeling 'crazy, jealous' at schoolfriends who could talk to boys and 'wear what they wanted'.

But by now Rizlaine had become increasingly radicalised in the toxic atmosphere home where it was normal to blame the sins of the world on the 'kafir' and the decadence of the West.

Two months after Safaa ran away from home in August 2014, Rizlaine was stopped in Istanbul and flown back to the UK after she tried to join ISIS there.

By the time of the Paris attacks in November 2015 Safaa too was fully radicalised and in contact with prolific ISIS recruiter Umm Isa Al-Amriki who was living there.

Al-Amriki was part of a team who were persuading young women from around the world to join them in Syria as fighters and mothers of a new generation of jihadis.

'As I was covered up I faced a lot of discrimination and a lot of people calling me names in the streets here like ninja, umbrella and postbox,' said Safaa.

'But there, the women are the same.

'She showed me videos where it was Eid in Islamic State and they would give sweets to children and the children were very happy and they were well looked after and everyone was equal.'

Among the hundreds of online ISIS friends she developed was British jihadi Hussain, whom she first got in touch with around three months before being stopped at the airport.

They never met face-to-face but chatted extensively over social media, with Hussain sending dozens of photos, including images of himself at the scenes of executions.

Boular said she was 'flattered' when Hussain confessed his undying love.

 

This article has been adapted from its original source.


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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