Western governments have long warned that Iraqi-based groups allied with Al Qaeda may strike at targets in the West. The botched 2007 attacks in Glasgow and London were initially seen as Iraqi-born plots, but British detectives later concluded there was no firm link, Reuters reports. Police sources said Abdulla, the Iraqi who masterminded the attacks, had no direct links to Al Qaeda in Iraq, a Sunni-based extremist group.
Although in a sense the British cell came under the broad al Qaeda "franchise," one senior source said: "I don't think there's any direct guidance or leadership coming from anyone."
While not inspired by al Qaeda in Iraq, British police said the June 2007 [designs of] plotters were very different to previous planned attacks in Britain since September 2001, most of which had direct or indirect links to training camps in Pakistan.
The Guardian reports that Abdulla, who held dual British-Iraqi nationality, was on a watch list of MI5, the domestic intelligence service. Government sources said MI5 had kept an eye on Abdulla for up to 13 months but he wasn't suspected during that time of preparing a terrorist attack, either alone or with other suspects.
Abdulla, who was born in the UK but grew up in Iraq, had travelled between the two countries several times in the years leading up to the attacks, most recently in May 2006, when, the prosecution in the trial claimed, he had joined insurgents fighting US-led forces in his homeland.
A document recovered from his laptop following the attacks included a statement addressed to an Iraqi insurgent group described as the Soldiers of the Islamic States of Iraq. It read: "God knows that the days I spent with you were the best and most rewarding days of my life."
Prosecutors said this proved Abdulla had been actively involved in the insurgency when he returned in 2006. Abdulla denied the charge, saying he did not write the document and adding that the group had not existed before he left Iraq to take up a job as a doctor in the UK.