A teenage ‘jihadi bride’ plotted a terror attack on London under the guise of an Alice In Wonderland-themed tea party, a court has heard.
Safaa Boular was aged 17 when she planned to “unleash violence and terror in the heart of London” by launching a grenade and gun attack on the British Museum, her trial at the Old Bailey heard.
Jurors were told that Boular was inspired following a failed bid to marry IS fighter Naweed Hussain and her resolve was strengthened when he was killed in Syria before she could join him.
After just three months chatting on social media, Boular and Hussain – who was in his 30s – had declared their love for each other, the court heard.
Safaa wanted to marry Hussain and don a suicide belt each, jurors were told.
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Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson QC said: “Their plan then was that together they would, as Hussain put it, depart the world holding hands and taking others with them in an act of terrorism.”
But Boular’s aim to travel to Syria accompanied by her sister was scuppered when she was stopped by police at Stansted en route home from a holiday in Morocco in August 2016.
She allegedly switched her attention to Britain, keeping contact with Hussain on a secret phone through encrypted Telegram chat.
But British Security Services had deployed specially-trained role play officers to engage with Boular and Hussain – who talked about an ambush involving Russian-style guns and “pineapples”, code for grenades – online to keep track of their activities.
When Boular found out about Hussain’s death in April last year, she told an officer posing as an IS fighter that all she needed was a “car and a knife to get what I want to achieve” and said she had no time to “lounge around”, adding: “My heart yearns to be reunited with my dear husband for the very first time.”
In encrypted chat, she said Hussain had told her “something about a British Museum and the tokarev and pineapple”, Mr Atkinson said. Tokarev was said to be a type of Russian gun and pineapple, a code word for grenades.
While in custody for allegedly attempting to travel to IS territory, Boular passed on the baton to her 21-year-old sister Rizlaine Boular.
In calls to her from jail, she talked about a “party” – said to be a code word for a terror attack – and the pair also made reference to a “Mad Hatter” and having an “Alice In Wonderland” themed tea party, jurors heard.
Over the next three days, Rizlaine and her mother Mina Dich, 43, carried out reconnaissance around major landmarks in Westminster and bought a pack of knives and a rucksack.
But on April 27 last year – the day of the proposed knife attack around the Palace of Westminster – police swooped to arrest Rizlaine.
The 21-year-old, of Clerkenwell, central London, has already admitted planning an attack and with the help and support of Dich, jurors were told.
But Safaa, now 18, who lived at home with her mother in Vauxhall, south west London, has denied two counts of preparing acts of terrorism.
Joel Bennathan QC told jurors that Safaa was “groomed” by Hussain, who was twice her age.
In an opening speech, he said: “She was a child who was sexually groomed, someone who was groomed to be radicalised. That’s what happened to this young person.”