A British Muslim of Pakistani origin, known as a "master bomb maker" for the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group, triggered the US laptop ban on flights last year, a former MI6 spy has revealed in a new autobiography.
A British Muslim of Pakistani origin, known as a “master bomb maker” for the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group, triggered the US laptop ban on flights last year, a former MI6 spy has revealed in a new autobiography. According to ‘The Sunday Times’, Aimen Dean — a former al Qaeda explosives expert recruited by MI6 to infiltrate UK Islamist extremist circles — writes in ‘Nine Lives’ that he first met 41-year-old Hamayun Tariq from the West Midlands region of England as an undercover agent in 2004. Tariq, who used the alias ‘Abu Muslim’, evaded the UK authorities twice to travel abroad where he is believed to have helped create bombs that could be disguised as laptop batteries and taken on planes.
The move is believed to have then prompted the US to ban laptops in aircraft cabins on flights from the Middle East last year. The ban has since been lifted, but passengers are still asked to switch on laptops to prove they have not been tampered with. Tariq, a former car mechanic, is now feared to be adapting drones to strike football stadiums and other crowded venues, the report said. Described as a “psychopath”, Tariq is thought to be the most accomplished terrorist bomber to emerge from Britain.
He reportedly hatched a dangerous plot to kill wealthy Britons in retaliation for the UK’s involvement in Iraq by smearing car door handles with poisonous nicotine. “It’s time to hurt the kuffar [non-Muslims] for what they are doing in Iraq. Let’s go for the f****** rich pricks: Ferraris, Bentleys, Jaguars and Mercedes. If 10 or 20 dirty kuffar drop dead, it’ll drive the price of the cars down and insurance up,” Tariq asked Dean, working undercover at the time. The plot was disrupted when Tariq and two alleged accomplices were arrested for fraud offences.
However, the divorced mechanic skipped bail and headed to Pakistan, where he is thought to have trained under al Qaeda’s top bomb maker. Tariq was arrested in Pakistan in 2007, deported to Britain and jailed for the earlier fraud. After prison he was allowed to leave the country again, only to resurface later in Syria where he joined ISIS, the report said. At the time Tariq used social media to boast about his work. But only now has the extent of his ability been confirmed.
In the book, written with Paul Cruickshank and Tim Lister, Dean writes, “An intelligence source told me in 2017 that Abu Muslim was involved in ISIS efforts to develop bombs that could be smuggled onto aircraft disguised as laptop batteries”. Last week Dean said Tariq was now on the Syria-Iraq border where he was developing drones laden with explosives with the potential to attack sports arenas.