8 men charged with terror offenses
LONDON, England (CNN) -- British police have charged eight men arrested two weeks ago with terrorism-related offenses, including conspiracy to commit murder.
They are also accused of conspiring to commit public nuisance by "using radioactive materials, toxic gases, chemicals and/or explosives to cause a disruption."
In addition, one of the men is charged with possessing plans that could have been used as the basis for a terror attack on financial institutions in New York and Washington.
He and another man face a similar charge concerning a financial building in New Jersey.
The eight men were arrested on August 3 during raids in northwest London, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Lancashire. They were held under the Terrorism Act 2000.
In a statement, London Metropolitan Police identified the men as: Dhiren Barot, 32, Mohammed Naveed Bhatti, 24, Abdul Aziz Jalil, 31, Omar Abdul Rehman, 20, Junade Feroze, 28, Mohammed ul Haq, 25, Qaisar Shaffi, 25, and Nadeem Tarmohammed, 26.
The eight men are scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.
All eight are accused of conspiring together and with unknown persons to commit murder and conspiring to commit public nuisance by "using radioactive materials, toxic gases, chemicals and/or explosives to cause a disruption, fear or injury."
Barot and Tarmohammed were charged with possessing documents or information that could be "useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism" because authorities said they had a "reconnaissance plan concerning the Prudential Building in New Jersey."
Barot also was charged with possessing a reconnaissance plan concerning the New York Stock Exchange, Citigroup in New York and the International Monetary Fund in Washington, the statement said.
It said Barot had "two notebooks containing information on explosives, poisons, chemicals and related matters."
Shaffi was charged with possessing information or documents that could aid someone preparing a terror attack because he was found to have "an extract of the Terrorists' Handbook, containing information on the preparation of chemicals, explosive recipes and other information about explosives," the statement said.
The police statement said the men, "on diverse days" between January 1, 2000, and August 4, 2004, "conspired together and with other persons unknown to murder other persons."
A ninth man, Matthew Philip Monks, "is being charged" with possession of a prohibited weapon, the statement said.
U.S. praises UK authorities
U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft said the Justice Department had been working closely with British authorities and other allies in the war on terror on this matter.
"We commend the United Kingdom's action today in bringing criminal charges against individuals who may have connections to potential terrorist activities in the United States," Ashcroft said in a statement.
"Our expert team of agents and analysts from the FBI will continue to share information and expertise with their British colleagues."
In addition, prosecutors from the Justice Department's Counterterrorism Section and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan will explore every aspect of this case and evaluate whether additional charges, including potential charges in the United States, are appropriate," his statement added.
The UK raids followed the August 1 announcement by U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge that the terror alert level was being raised for financial services facilities in New York, Newark, N.J. and Washington, D.C., because of intelligence information about potential terrorist attacks.
Under the UK's Terrorism Act 2000, 609 people have arrested between September 11, 2001 and June of this year, the Home Office said.
The Home Office said 99 of those had been charged with offenses under the Act, including 38 who were also charged under other legislation. Of the 99 charged, 15 have been convicted.
The remainder were released without charge, bailed to ensure their return, cautioned, charged under other legislation or dealt with under immigration or mental health legislation, the Home Office said.