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September 22, 2017

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Al-Qaida convict flew into Britain wearing shoe-bomb

NEW YORK --A British terror convict flew from Pakistan to London wearing a shoe-bomb that he was supposed to detonate on a U.S. passenger jet, a New York trial heard Tuesday.

Star prosecution witness Saajid Badat, testifying at the trial of Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, revealed he flew via the Netherlands wearing the bomb.

Once back in Britain in December 2001 he was supposed to fly across the Atlantic and bomb a domestic U.S. flight, but a reunion with his parents, after three years in Afghanistan, changed his mind.

"It was then I decided to back out of the mission," said Badat. He emailed his handler in Karachi to withdraw, but kept the bomb.

"I hadn't relinquished my views so there may come a time when I would need it again," added Badat.

He said he met bin Laden one-on-one to discuss the plot and admitted that he "envied" the 9/11 hijackers.

The revelation came as Badat provided striking insights into a string of plots and al-Qaida training activities in Afghanistan in 2001.

He also told the court how al-Qaida operatives had tested poisons on animals named Clinton, Bush and Sharon before watching them die.

Badat revealed how he met at least two of the 9/11 hijackers, went to Belgium in connection with a thwarted plot, researched Jewish targets to attack in South Africa and handed a shoe bomb to Malaysian plotters in December 2001.

A polyglot fluent in four languages, he also said he translated bin Laden's speeches and sermons from Arabic so they could reach the English-speaking world.

Code-name 'Van Damme'

Badat revealed British shoe bomber Richard Reid had the al-Qaida code name "Van Damme" because a Pakistani thought he looked like the Belgian film star Jean-Claude Van Damme.

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