Two brothers from west London who were preparing to travel to Syria to fight with ISIS have been convicted of terror offences.
Ahmed Alsyed, 20, was jailed for four-and-a-half years at Woolwich Crown Court on Wednesday (April 18), having pleaded guilty to multiple terror offences.
Ahmed and his brother Yousif were sharing plans and propaganda with three other teenagers, 18-year-old Mohammed Ali, from south west London, a 16-year-old from south London and 15-year-old from east London.
The group used encrypted messaging app Telegram to communicate with each other, and shared extremist material, and Metropolitan Police began their investigation in Spring 2016, when one member said he wished to travel to Syria to "become a martyr".
The investigation led to a person calling themselves "Abu Ibrahim", who had also said that he was simply waiting for "a green light to travel". Abu Ibrahim later turned out to be Yousif Alsyed.
In August 2016, the Alsyed brothers were stopped by police at Heathrow Airport , having returned from a holiday in Egypt, and their mobile phones were seized. Police recovered "a significant quantity" of extremist Islamist material from their phones, as well as telegram messages to a man in Yemen in which they discussed plans to travel to Syria or Libya in order to join ISIS, also known as Daesh.
The investigators also identified the three other, like-minded boys that the brothers had been messaging.
The brothers bought new phones after their return from Egypt, and these were again seized when they were arrested in February 2017, which clearly showed they had been communicating with facilitators about travel arrangements to get to Syria.
Police found that the brothers had also started to train themselves, by joining the gym and attending a paintballing camp, and had sent gruesome and gory images which glorified Daesh to other members in the group.
That same month, police discovered that Ali and the 16-year-old had booked flights from Gatwick to Istanbul, departing February 14, 2017, and decided to raid their addresses that morning, as well as the address of the Alsyed brothers.
Passports, mobile phones and laptops were all seized, as well as camping equipment and a list of equipment needed to camp for long periods of time. After trawling through all the electronic data on their devices, police arrested all five on February 21 2017, and charged them three days later.
Commander Clarke Jarrett, of the Met's Counter Terrorism Command, said: "The evidence we recovered showed the clear intent of the Alsyed brothers to go to Syria, where they would join Daesh.
"It is patent to me that their intention, once they had joined the terrorist group, was to fight alongside it as the brothers had invested time in training in the UK, including spending time at a paintballing camp and joining a gym.
"The brothers shared with each other gory videos and images glorifying Daesh. They had their hearts set on joining their fight but our investigation stopped them."
Yousif Alsyed pleaded guilty on January 11to preparation of terrorist acts and dissemination of terrorist publications, and will be sentenced at a later date.
His brother Ahmed, was sentenced to four and a half years in prison on Wednesday (April 18) at Woolwich Crown Court. He had pleaded guilty to collection of information, contrary to the Terrorism Act 2000, preparation of terrorist acts and dissemination of terrorist publications, both contrary to the Terrorism Act 2006.
Mohammed Ali was sentenced to four years and two months in prison, in November 2017, after having pleaded guilty to preparation of terrorist acts, contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006 and collection of information, contrary to section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
The 16-year-old was sentenced on the same day to two years and eight months in prison after he admitted to preparation of terrorist acts, contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006.
The 15-year-old was sentenced at Westminster Youth Court in July 2017, to a 12-month Intensive Referral Order after he pleaded guilty to collection of information, contrary to section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and two counts of dissemination of terrorist publications contrary to section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006.
His Intensive Referral Order stipulates he must take part in a de-radicalisation program, that he is subject to curfew for three months, carries out 40 hours of reparation work and be monitored by a dedicated youth worker for 12 months.
He was not charged with offences relating to travel to Syria to join Daesh.
Commander Jarrett concluded: "This is an investigation that began with some intelligence and from that detectives were able to identify Yousif Alsyed, then his brother and three others, who were immersed in various terrorist offences.
"If anyone has suspicions about someone who is behaving oddly, sending messages that seem extreme or anything else that strikes them as not quite right, please act on your instinct and report it to police."
Suspicions can be reported in confidence at www.gov.uk/act or by calling 0800 789 321.
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