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Nine terrorism suspects appear in London court

Nine men accused of terrorism and conspiracy to blow up high-profile targets that reportedly included the U.S. Embassy and the London Stock Exchange in a Christmas bombing campaign made their first appearance in a central London court Monday.

Most of the nine, ages 17 to 28, are of Bangladeshi origin. They were among 12 men arrested a week ago in three cities across Britain. Three were released without charge.

They were charged late Sunday after a weeklong interrogation by counter-terrorism police at a London police station. They appeared at the city’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday in three groups.

Anti-terrorism prosecutor Sue Hemming said the nine men were charged with preparing to commit terrorist acts or assisting in them.

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The men were also accused of igniting and testing incendiary materials and downloading material for the preparation of acts of terrorism, Reuters news agency reported, and five of them were charged with possession of documents and records of potential use to terrorists. They will reappear in London’s central criminal court, the Old Bailey, on Jan. 14.

The Guardian newspaper identified the nine as Nazam Hussain, 25, Usman Khan, 19, Mohibur Rahman, 26, and Abul Bosher Mohammed Shahjahan, 26, from Stoke-on-Trent in the Midlands area of England; Gurukanth Desai, 28, Omar Sharif Latif, 26, and Abdul Malik Miah, 24, who were detained in Cardiff, South Wales; and Mohammed Moksudur Rahman Chowdhury, 20, and Shah Mohammed Lutfar Rahman, 28, from London.

Though few details were revealed about the targets, the BBC reported that the men were accused of carrying out reconnaissance of high-profile targets, including the American Embassy and the London Stock Exchange.

Their arrest and charges come amid concerns about terrorism activity in Europe. On Dec. 11 a suicide bomber killed himself in an attack in Stockholm.

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He was an Iraqi-born Swedish citizen known to have studied in Luton, England, home to three of the suicide bombers who detonated bombs in attacks on London’s transport system on July 7, 2005.

Dutch authorities arrested 12 Somalis in Rotterdam over the weekend. Five of them have been released without charge.

Last week Italian anarchists said they were responsible for letter bombs that injured two people in embassies in Rome. Another device was found and defused at the Greek Embassy in Rome on Monday.

Stobart is a Times staff writer.


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