Munir Mohammed

Munir Mohammed is an attempted domestic terrorist convicted in January 2018 for preparing a terrorist act in the United Kingdom on behalf of ISIS with the help of Rowaida El-Hassan. Mohammed met El-Hassan, a London-based pharmacist, on a Muslim dating site, and sought out her chemical expertise to prepare poisons and explosives. Mohammed also accessed bomb-making instructional videos online. At the time of his December 2016 arrest, he had two of the three materials needed to make the explosive chemical TATP in his apartment.“Couple guilty of homemade bomb terror attack plot,” BBC News, January 8, 2018, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-derbyshire-42607043.

Born in Eritrea, Mohammed lived for some time in Sudan and Libya before arriving in the United Kingdom in February 2014. In the United Kingdom, Mohammed submitted an application for asylum and was placed in a shared house in Derby. Although he was not allowed to work, he obtained false European Union documentation before May 2016 in order to access services and work illegally. Mohammed found employment at the Kerry Foods manufacturing supermarket.Dominic Casciani, “Derby terror plot: The online Casanova and his lover,” BBC News, January 8, 2018, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-42370025.

Mohammed met Rowaida El-Hassan, a pharmacy graduate from North London, on a Muslim dating site. The pair began to communicate over WhatsApp and Facebook. Beginning in April 2016, Mohamed shared with her at least seventeen violent propaganda videos, including ISIS videos that depicted children conducting executions, suicide bombings, and British citizen Mohammed Emwazi a.k.a. “Jihadi John,” carrying out a beheading. El-Hassan sent him back news articles about ISIS attacks and similar propaganda advocating for jihad against non-Muslims.Toby Bradford, “Gruesome details of ISIS videos ‘shared’ by alleged Derby terror plotter are revealed in court,” Derby Telegraph (Derby), November 6, 2017, http://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/news/derby-news/gruesome-details-isis-videos-shared-737417; Isaac Crowson, “Derby terrorist Munir Mohammed planned to attack ‘enemies of the Islamic State,’” Derby Telegraph (Derby), January 8, 2018, http://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/news/derby-news/derby-terrorist-munir-mohammed-planned-1029215; Dominic Casciani, “Derby terror plot: The online Casanova and his lover,” BBC News, January 8, 2018, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-42370025. The two met in person sometime during the spring at a park near El-Hassan’s home.Lizzie Dearden, “Isis-supporting coupled planned Christmas terror attack after meeting on online dating site,” Independent (London), January 8, 2018, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/isis-christmas-terror-attack-plot-couple-derby-explosives-old-bailey-bomb-ricin-online-dating-muslim-a8148061.html.

In July 2016, while still working at the supermarket factory, Mohammed allegedly began to investigate making the poison ricin with the help of El-Hassan. That summer, he also made contact with a suspected ISIS commander called “Abubakr Kurdi” via Facebook.Dominic Casciani, “Derby terror plot: The online Casanova and his lover,” BBC News, January 8, 2018, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-42370025. Authorities later found that Kurdi had posted general appeals to poison food.Dominic Casciani, “Derby terror plot: The online Casanova and his lover,” BBC News, January 8, 2018, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-42370025. In his communications with Kurdi, Mohammed volunteered for a “new job in the UK”––meaning an act of terrorism––and pledged allegiance to ISIS.“Couple guilty of homemade bomb terror attack plot,” BBC News, January 8, 2018, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-derbyshire-42607043; Dominic Casciani, “Derby terror plot: The online Casanova and his lover,” BBC News, January 8, 2018, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-42370025. In September, Mohammed complained to Kurdi that he had not yet received instructions to carry out an attack.Dominic Casciani, “Derby terror plot: The online Casanova and his lover,” BBC News, January 8, 2018, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-42370025.

Using El-Hassan’s chemical expertise, the pair began to plot a domestic attack in the United Kingdom, and were reportedly trying to build a pressure-cooker bomb.Isaac Crowson, “Derby terrorist Munir Mohammed planned to attack ‘enemies of the Islamic State,’” Derby Telegraph (Derby), January 8, 2018, http://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/news/derby-news/derby-terrorist-munir-mohammed-planned-1029215; “Couple guilty of homemade bomb terror attack plot,” BBC News, January 8, 2018, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-derbyshire-42607043. Mohammed accessed several bomb-making instructions on YouTube and Facebook, including a 30-minute long violent ISIS video that provided instructions on how to carry out executions and make the explosive TATP using home materials.Toby Bradford, “Gruesome details of ISIS videos ‘shared’ by alleged Derby terror plotter are revealed in court,” Derby Telegraph (Derby), November 6, 2017, http://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/news/derby-news/gruesome-details-isis-videos-shared-737417. At one point, he sent El-Hassan a 24-page document via WhatsApp on the manufacturing of explosives.Toby Bradford, “Gruesome details of ISIS videos ‘shared’ by alleged Derby terror plotter are revealed in court,” Derby Telegraph (Derby), November 6, 2017, http://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/news/derby-news/gruesome-details-isis-videos-shared-737417. At the time of his arrest in December 2016, Mohammed was found to be in possession of two of the three materials needed to make TATP and instruction manuals on how to prepare explosives, cell phone detonators, and the poison ricin. He had bought at least some of the necessary materials from a local drugstore based on El-Hassan’s instructions.“Couple planned terror attack after meeting on dating site, court hears,” Guardian (London), October 30, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/oct/30/terror-attack-couple-dating-site-court-hears-munir-mohammed-rowaida-el-hassan; Dominic Casciani, “Derby terror plot: The online Casanova and his lover,” BBC News, January 8, 2018, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-42370025.

On January 8, 2018, Mohammed was convicted of preparing acts of terrorism between November 2015 and December 2016.“Couple guilty of homemade bomb terror attack plot,” BBC News, January 8, 2018, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-derbyshire-42607043.

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