London rapper Sahayb Abu convicted of planning UK terror attack

ISIS supporter ordered a range of suspicious items and was arrested in July after calling for a '9/11 2.0'

Sahayb Abu purchased a range of items which gave London police cause for concern, including this knife. Courtesy: Metropolitan Police
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A rapper who made music videos about his admiration for ISIS was on Friday convicted of planning a terrorist attack in the UK.

Sahayb Abu, 27, from east London, aroused suspicion after going on a spending spree for weapons and military-style items in May and June 2020, the Old Bailey criminal court in central London heard.

He purchased a sword, a knife, a  combat vest,  two balaclavas, a camouflage-print fisherman's hat with face and neck cover and fingerless gloves.

London's Metropolitan Police launched an undercover operation in which an officer befriended Abu online and met him in person on two occasions.

During their conversations, Abu spoke about obtaining firearms, the court heard.

He was arrested on July 9, after posting a message in a chat group saying "we need a 9/11 2.0".

Officers found a slew of extremist messages on his electronic devices, and Abu's browsing history showed that he had visited ISIS websites and downloaded ISIS propaganda, the court heard.

Abu denied planning a terrorist attack and said equipment he had purchased was for parody "drill" music videos – a form of rap that focuses on violence and crime.

In one song, he calls himself a "straight ISIS supporter", talks about "heads rolling on the ground", and says "got my suicide vest, one click boom and I'll see you later".

The jury rejected the defence claim that  these lyrics were a parody of extremists.

"Over several months, Mr Abu sought to obtain weapons and equipment needed to commit a terrorist attack," said Richard Smith, head of the Met's counter-terrorism unit.

"He is an extremely dangerous individual but we were able to intervene and arrest him before he was able to carry out his attack."

British authorities said in November that a terrorist attack was highly likely, when it raised the official threat assessment to "severe" as ISIS assaults around Europe grew.

"This is a prime example of how our officers and the security services are working together to keep people safe [from such threats]," said Mr Smith.

Abu is due to be sentenced on April 9.