Three accused of an alleged plot to attack the Jewish community

image caption, The men were charged after being arrested at addresses in Wigan

  • Author, Callum May, Paul Burnell and PA Media
  • Role, BBC news

Three men have appeared in court charged with terrorism offenses over an alleged plot to attack the Jewish community in north-west England.

Walid Saadaoui, 36, and Amar Hussein, 50, were charged with preparing terrorist acts between December 13, 2023 and May 9, 2024.

Mr Saadaoui, of Crankwood Road in Abram, and Mr Hussein, of no fixed address, pleaded no contest when they appeared in custody at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

Saadaoui’s brother Bilel, 35, of Fairclough Street in Hindley, wept as he pleaded not guilty to failing to disclose information about the alleged plans.

The court heard that Walid Saadaoui and Amar Hussein had intended to target “the Jewish community in North West England and members of both law enforcement and the military”.

The hearing was told that the two were accused of plotting an attack intended to cause “multiple deaths using automatic weapons”.

Prosecutor Rebecca Waller said the alleged plan was inspired by the Islamic State group.

“Understandably Upset”

Each of the men appeared in court in separate hearings, wearing gray tracksuits and flanked by police and security officers.

Mr. Hussein was assisted by an Arabic interpreter, but had no lawyer to represent him.

Asked by the judge if he wanted to apply for bail, he said: “Do what you want.”

The other two men spoke only to confirm their identities.

Angelo Saponiere, defending Bilel Saadaoui, said his client was a “family member” who did not know about the alleged plans.

District Judge Louisa Ciecóra remanded all men in custody and sent the case to be heard at the Old Bailey on 24 May.

image caption, Assistant Chief Constable Rob Potts said his officers would continue to “listen and act on concerns”

The men were arrested on May 8 after Greater Manchester Police executed four warrants in Bolton and Wigan.

In a statement, Deputy Chief Constable Rob Potts said the details of the case would be “understandably upsetting and could have a significant impact on communities across Greater Manchester and beyond”.

“Everyone should feel safe in our region, regardless of religion or race,” he said.

“We have worked closely with community groups and key stakeholders to address concerns and will continue to update them throughout this case.”

He added that “local officers across Greater Manchester” would continue to “listen and act on concerns”.

“The actions we have taken so far follow a long-running and carefully managed investigation and we do not believe there is a wider risk to the public in relation to this case,” he said.

“If you have any concerns about your safety or any suspicious activity in your area then I would encourage you to contact the police.”