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British Airways worker jailed 30 years for plane plot

LONDON, Mar 18 – A Bangladeshi Islamic militant working for British Airways was jailed for 30 years on Friday for plotting to blow up a plane after conspiring with radical US-Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

Rajib Karim, a 31-year-old computer expert who was based in northeast England, was found guilty last month of trying to use his job at the airline to plant a bomb on a US-bound flight as part of a conspiracy with Awlaki.

Sentencing Karim at Woolwich Crown Court in London, judge David Calvert-Smith said he had "worked incessantly to further terrorist purposes" but managed to keep his intentions hidden from his co-workers.

The jury in his trial heard Karim had first attacked BA\’s computer systems and then attempted to obtain a job as a cabin crew member to plant a bomb on a plane, but he was arrested before an attack could be carried out.

The judge told Karim: "The offences were of the utmost gravity.

"You are and were a committed jihadist who understood his duty to his religion involves fighting and, God-willing, dying and then being rewarded in the afterlife."

He added: "It is a feature of this case that none of those who worked with you at British Airways had even the slightest notion of what was going on."

The prosecution said Karim started to communicate in late 2009 with Awlaki, who encouraged him to find ways of smuggling a bomb on board a plane.

Awlaki, who is believed to have been hiding in a remote area of Yemen since 2007, was recently described by a senior US security official as "probably the most significant risk" to the United States.

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