Student nurse accused of planning terror attack with homemade bomb at RAF base
A student nurse has appeared in court accused of planning a terrorist attack at an RAF base after he was allegedly found with a pressure cooker bomb outside a hospital in Leeds.
Mohammad Farooq, 27, was allegedly inspired by radical Islam and Jihad when he carried out “hostile reconnaissance” of the military base in Yorkshire on January 10 and 18 after carrying out online research.
Prosecutors say he chose the target because of online encouragement to carry out a “lone wolf” attack at the site.
Farooq is said to have constructed a viable bomb made from a pressure cooker, 13.7 kilos of a homemade low explosive mixture and a length of pyrotechnic fuse.
He was arrested in the early hours of last Friday outside the maternity unit at St James’s University Hospital in Leeds, where he had been due to work a shift.
Farooq is said to have told a man he “felt like killing everyone” before showing him a gun, then told police officers he had a bomb.
His actions at the hospital are not alleged to have been motivated by terrorism but a grudge towards another member of staff.
Farooq, from Leeds, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday from a police station in Bradford wearing a grey tracksuit.
He spoke to confirm his name, address and date of birth but was not asked to enter pleas to the three charges he faces.
Farooq is charged with one count of engaging in conduct with the intention of committing acts of terrorism between July 12 and last year and January 20.
Prosecutor Mark Luckett said he allegedly had instructions to assemble a homemade explosive device, bought equipment and made the bomb, researched the RAF base online, and engaged in reconnaissance of the alleged target.
He is also charged with possessing an explosive substance – namely 13.7 kg of a homemade low explosive mixture, a pressure cooker and a length of pyrotechnic fuse – on January 20 with intent to endanger life or cause serious injury to property.
Farooq faces a further count of possessing an imitation firearm: a Gediz 9mm PAK semi-automatic pistol; with intent to cause fear of violence on the same date.
There was no application for bail and chief magistrate Paul Goldspring remanded him in custody ahead of his next appearance at the Old Bailey next Friday.
Detective Chief Superintendent James Dunkerley, head of Counter Terrorism Policing North East, said after Farooq was charged: “We understand people may have concerns following last week’s arrest and the resulting charges.
“For counter terrorism policing and its partners, public safety remains our priority at all times and an extensive and thorough investigation has led to the charges brought today.
“These inquiries have confirmed our initial assessment that this was an isolated incident.
“We are satisfied that there is currently no evidence of an increased risk to the public, within our communities or the UK hospital estate, in connection with this investigation.
“Despite this, the UK threat level remains at substantial, and history has shown us we can’t afford to be complacent.
“Public vigilance is invaluable in supporting the efforts of counter terrorism policing and its partners to protect our communities from harm.
“Every year, thousands of reports from the public help police to respond early to potentially suspicious activity.
“If you see or hear something that doesn’t seem right, trust your instincts and act by reporting to police in confidence at gov.uk/ACT. In an emergency, always dial 999.
“We’re grateful for the support we’ve received from the public during this investigation. We’d particularly like to thank the staff and patients at St James’s Hospital for their patience and co-operation throughout the disruption last Friday.”