Terror trial begins in Britain
October 22, 2012 -- Updated 1603 GMT (0003 HKT)
- Prosecutor: One alleged jihadist described the plan as "another 9/11"
- The attack's scale could have been bigger than the 2005 London bombings, he says
- The accused men deny the charges
- They would face maximum sentences of life in prison if convicted
London (CNN) -- Three men accused of plotting a suicide bombing campaign in Britain went on trial Monday.
If authorities hadn't foiled the plan, the scale of the terrorist attack might have been bigger than the 2005 London bombings that killed more than 50 people, prosecutor Brian Altman said. One of the alleged jihadists described the plot as "another 9/11," he said.
Irfan Naseer, Irfan Khalid and Ashik Ali were arrested in September 2011 in what authorities called a major operation.
Read more: Four appear in UK court on terror charges
Altman told jurors that the men planned to use up to eight bombs inside rucksacks in suicide attacks aimed at causing mass casualties.
In the house where they allegedly researched and experimented with bombs, investigators found an audio recording of slain al Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, Altman said.
If they were found guilty of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts, they would face maximum sentences of life in prison. All three men deny the charges.
Read more: Police: 7 men arrested in UK anti-terror operation
Naseer and Khalid are also accused of traveling to Pakistan for terrorist training, and recording martyrdom videos there.
The men began experiments building homemade bombs in a Birmingham flat shortly after returning to Britain, Altman said.
To raise money for the plan, Altman said, the men posed as workers for a Muslim charity and collected 13,500 pounds.
"They were despicably stealing from their own community," he alleged.
Surveillance recordings conducted by British intelligence officials indicated the men talked about packing the explosives with nails to maximize damage and said the 2005 attacks had "gone a bit wrong" because bombers hadn't used nails in their explosives to create shrapnel, Altman said.
For the accused men, prosecutors said, former al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was "equally inspirational" as the suicide bombers who attacked three London subway trains and a bus on July 7, 2005.
All of three men are from Birmingham, Britain's second-largest city, authorities said. They were arrested in September 2011.
CNN Terrorism Analyst Paul Cruickshank contributed to this report.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.