I support Iraq insurgents but I loved England, says terror accused

AN IRAQI doctor accused of terrorist car bombings said yesterday he supported insurgent fighting in his homeland.

Bilal Abdulla said he was born in England, studied in Cambridge, held a British passport and saw the UK as home.

But he said the aftermath of the second Gulf war had left him shocked at the brutality of western governments, even though he welcomed the downfall of Saddam Hussein.

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Speaking for the first time in his defence, he described the effect of sanctions on Iraq, with shortages of basic medicines.

He told Woolwich Crown Court he hated the US government and was shocked that British soldiers had failed to stop Shia Muslims driving the Sunni population out of the southern Iraqi city of Basra. Speaking about the aftermath of the 2003 Iraq war, Abdulla, 29, said: "After months of waiting for reform, I then started to see the discrimination, that the Americans were taking over the country.

"The government was a Shia government, the army was a Shia army, the police were Shia and we had gangsters that were kidnapping girls from schools and killing them. We were not able to go to our universities and the country was literally in chaos – we did not have water or electricity or anything at all."

Asked by his barrister, Jim Sturman, QC, if he supported the Sunni resistance, Abdulla said: "Definitely. I looked high upon those fighting the invaders. I supported the insurgency."

Asked what his feelings were towards people in Britain, he said: "I did not have any hatred towards any individual person anywhere in this country or other countries."

Abdulla is accused of trying to murder hundreds of people by leaving car bombs outside a nightclub in London's West End. The prosecution alleges that, when the gas canister and petrol devices failed to detonate, he joined a suicide attack on Glasgow Airport the next day.

Abdulla is on trial with a second doctor, Mohammed Asha, 28, accused of conspiracy to murder and to cause explosions. They deny the offences.

The court heard Abdulla came from a large, highly educated and religiously moderate family, part of the Iraqi middle class. He excelled at school and embarked on a six-year medical degree.

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Abdulla was born in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, at a time when his father was training as a doctor in a local hospital and his mother was a pharmacist.

He returned to Iraq when he was four. Speaking about returning to Britain in 2002, he said: "I felt England is home, and I loved that country. I loved England."

Abdulla revealed that while in Cambridge, he had tried to join the British Army, after he could not find funding to undertake further medical studies.

He said: "I tried to join. I visited the local office in Cambridge and talked to the colonel. We had a long discussion and at the end we couldn't reach a conclusion."

Abdulla said the Americans were welcome at the end of the 2003 war but relations turned sour. He said: "We knew they were here for the petrol in Iraq and we were happy. If you take petrol and you topple Saddam, the price is worth it.

"But the Americans did not do that. They destroyed the infrastructure, they did not rebuild."

The trial continues.