LONDON - An Iraqi doctor who planted car bombs in the heart of London and tried to mount a fiery suicide attack on a Scottish airport last year was found guilty yesterday of conspiracy to commit murder.
Bilal Abdulla, 29, was convicted for his role in a plot that shocked Britain because of the involvement of a medical professional trained to save lives and because of the carnage that was only narrowly averted when the homemade bombs failed to explode.
Abdulla, who was born in Britain but raised mostly in Iraq, was found guilty of joining Kafeel Ahmed in trying to commit murder on what prosecutors said was an "indiscriminate" scale. The two men were described as members of an Islamist cell that sought to punish the West for perceived injustices to Muslims in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
Early on June 29, 2007, the pair unsuccessfully tried to detonate car bombs at sites outside a crowded London nightclub, close to famed Piccadilly Circus, and at a nearby bus stop. After those bombs failed, the men sped north to Glasgow, Scotland, where the next day, at the city's international airport, they rammed a Jeep packed with containers of gas into the glass-fronted terminal.
The Jeep burst into flames but did not explode. Abdulla was seen trying to fight off police before he and Ahmed, who had apparently set himself on fire, were finally arrested. Ahmed, 28, an engineer from India, died of his burns a few weeks later.
A third man, Jordanian neurologist Mohammed Asha, 28, was accused of having given guidance to the two attackers, but he was acquitted yesterday.
Abdulla, a doctor for Britain's National Health Service, is due to be sentenced today and faces up to life in prison.
He contended in court that his intent was merely to frighten people and focus attention on the suffering of Iraqis after the U.S.-led and British-supported overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Jurors rejected his argument.