Former Hospital Worker Arrested for Planning Terrorist Attack Targeting Nurses in UK
LONDON, United Kingdom – A former hospital worker was arrested earlier this year for planning to carry out a terrorist attack at a hospital in Leeds, northern England, targeting nurses, a British court heard on Monday. Mohammed Farooq, 28, was found with a viable pressure cooker bomb, designed to be twice as powerful as the explosives used in the 2013 Boston Marathon attack.
During the trial at Sheffield Crown Court, prosecutor Jonathan Sandiford described Farooq as a “self-radicalized, lone wolf terrorist” who intended to seek his own martyrdom. Farooq had allegedly planned to detonate the improvised explosive device (IED) and use bladed weapons to kill as many people as possible. Sandiford also revealed that Farooq had planned to attack the Royal Air Force base Menwith Hill.
The court heard that Farooq had visited the US military base multiple times, taking the bomb with him on each occasion. He has been charged with preparation of a terrorist act, possession of an explosive substance, and possession of an imitation firearm. However, Farooq denied intending to endanger life, though he admitted to possessing an explosive device.
Farooq’s arrest took place outside St James’s University Hospital in Leeds after a vigilant patient noticed something suspicious about him. Sandiford told the court that Farooq initially planned to send a bomb threat and target those leaving the hospital during the expected evacuation. However, his text message was not seen for nearly an hour, and the evacuation never took place.
The text message read: “I have placed a pressure cooker bomb on J28 (ward). It will detonate in one hour. Let’s see how many lives you will save.” After failing in his initial plan, Farooq returned to the hospital with a new strategy – to wait in a coffee shop for a staff shift change and detonate the device to kill as many people as possible.
Sandiford revealed that the explosive material used in the bomb was obtained from £600 ($730) worth of fireworks purchased by Farooq in December 2019. Additionally, Farooq had acquired instructions for preparing “five deadly toxins or nerve agents,” including ricin and sarin, as he was reportedly self-radicalized through online sources.
The prosecutor also informed the jury that Farooq harbored a grudge against several of his former colleagues at the hospital and had been engaging in a malicious campaign against them.
The trial continues as the court examines further evidence and hears from witnesses.