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Terrorist worked in Scottish pubs to bankroll suicide bomb attack in Stockholm
From the Daily Record and the Swedish edition of The Local
A Terrorist took part-time jobs in Glasgow pubs to bankroll a suicide bomb attack.
Algerian Nasserdine Menni worked hard, spent frugally and gave the impression he was saving for a better life – but the truth was far more sinister. On December 11, 2010, the fruits of his labour – and his illegal benefit claims – made headlines around the world.
At 4.48pm, a car bomb rocked a busy street filled with Christmas shoppers in Sweden’s capital Stockholm. It was followed 12 minutes later by a second blast as his close friend Taimour Abdulwahab detonated an explosive vest strapped to his torso.
After an 11-week trial at the High Court in Glasgow, a jury yesterday found Menni guilty of providing money that he knew or suspected would be used for the purposes of terrorism. But they returned a not proven verdict on a charge of conspiracy to murder Swedish citizens. Menni was also charged with fraudulently accessing three bank accounts and of claiming benefits and pretending to be an asylum-seeker in order to stay in Britain.
Menni arrived in the UK in 2005 and claimed he was a French national named Emmanuel Bernard. He settled in Luton, Bedfordshire, where he struck up a close friendship with Abdulwahab, a dad of two. Abdulwahab moved to the UK in 2001 to study sports therapy. But in 2007 he was kicked out of a Luton mosque for being too radical. It is not known exactly when Menni became radicalised but the pair became as close as brothers.
Menni worked for car seat makers Magna in nearby Dunstable under a false name until April 2009. But on April 6, 2009, he went to Liverpool to claim asylum. He said his name was Essededine al-Khaledi and that he was a Kuwaiti Bedouin fleeing persecution. He moved to Glasgow two days later and was given assisted accommodation in the city’s Red Road flats. He later moved to Whiteinch.
Andrew Miller, prosecuting, said: “The effect of the asylum claim was to create distance between himself and Abdulwahab and provide financial support. He had a new identity and he was able to falsely claim benefits.” Using the name Emmanuel Bernard, Menni worked in two Glasgow city centre restaurants as a kitchen porter and dishwasher.
David Harvie, the Crown Office’s director of serious casework, said: “It was only good fortune which prevented members of the public being killed. Menni’s guilt has been established by a meticulous and painstaking inquiry by Scottish law enforcement working with their Swedish and UK counterparts.”
The indictment featured nine names but Menni has refused to confirm his true identity. Police believe he is 32 but do not know his actual age. He has a mum and siblings in Algeria, as well as a brother in Luton and another brother in France. Menni will learn his fate when he returns to the dock next month.