Relatives of two brothers suspected of plotting a terrorist bombing outrage in Britain today made extraordinary claims that they were visited by an MI5 agent in the weeks before they were arrested.
The bizarre story was immediately dismissed by security sources as “complete rubbish” but the men’s family remained adamant that an agent called “Mr Gould” spoke with them three times and urged them to leave the UK.
Computer student Omar Khyam, 22, and his brother Shujah Khyam, 17, from Crawley, Sussex were tonight undergoing a second night of questioning at high security Paddington Green police station in London along with their cousin Ahmad Khan, 18, a journalism student, and five other men.
The eight suspects, all British citizens and Muslims, were held under the Terrorism Act as police found half a ton of ammonium nitrate fertiliser which they believe could have been used in a devastating blast.
Sajjad Ahmad, the uncle of Omar and Shujah Khyam, claimed an MI5 agent had first appeared a month ago.
“He came to my house. We got in my car and went down to Sainsbury’s car park,” he said.
The agent allegedly told him there were two categories of people the authorities were concerned with – those who were a threat to national security and those who were in trouble but did not pose a threat to national security.
Mr Ahmad said the agent did not think his nephews posed an immediate threat but urged the family to send the boys to Pakistan for a year.
“He said if they would be willing to leave, it would make (the security services’) life easier.” said Mr Ahmad.
He claimed tickets had been booked for Omar and Shujah to fly to Pakistan on April 6 at 8.30am and he was “absolutely gobsmacked” when the police arrived to arrest them.
“I have faith in the police and the intelligence services. I think they are there to protect us. Something happened at the last hour,” he said.
Mr Ahmad showed reporters his mobile phone with what he claimed was the MI5 agent’s number on the display.