Picture: Independent Media Archives

London - An Islamic State fanatic was ‘days away’ from a suicide bombing at the gates of Downing Street targeting Theresa May, a jury heard on Tuesday.

Naa’imur Rahman, 20, allegedly wanted to bring carnage to the ‘very heart’ of Government after his uncle was killed in a drone strike in Syria.

He was on the brink of inflicting ‘lethal violence’ with knives and explosives, it was claimed.

But he was arrested after an extraordinary undercover operation in which MI5 agents spent weeks posing as a senior Islamic State official online, exchanging messages with Rahman on encrypted app Telegram.

Prosecutor Mark Heywood QC told the Old Bailey: "Before his arrest prevented it, he was, he believed, just days away from his objective, which was no less than a suicide attack, by blade and explosion, on Downing Street and, if he could possibly achieve it, upon the Prime Minister herself – Theresa May."

Mr Heywood said Rahman wanted to bring a ‘full frontal assault’ to the gates of Downing Street by fitting his coat and backpack with improvised explosive devices. The court heard that, writing to his supposed terrorist ‘handler’, Rahman said: "I want to do a suicide bomb on Parliament. I want to attempt to kill Theresa May."

"My objective is to take out my target. Nothing less than the death of the leaders of Parliament."

He added: "If I wear a vest, drive close by Parliament while there is a meeting and push the button ... it will clear the entire block. Everyone inside including the Prime Minister will be dead."

Referring to lorries with large gas tanks parked near his home, he is said to have added: "If a brother can drive it next to Parliament... I will bomb."

Rahman and his friend, Mohammad Imran, 22, were arrested last November after an operation involving Scotland Yard and security services.

Mr Heywood said they shared the "warped ideology" of Islamic State and took ‘practical steps’ to engage in terrorism.

He alleged both men considered travelling to the Middle East to "lend support to the violence", but Rahman wanted to strike closer to home.

"His settled conclusion was that lethal violence here, directed at the very heart of the UK Government, was the only effective way to pursue his intentions," said Mr Heywood.

The jury was told Rahman’s uncle had travelled to Syria to fight for Islamic State. "Rahman later told others he had been encouraged by his uncle to do violent acts here in the United Kingdom," said Mr Heywood.

"The evidence shows that his resolve to do so became hardened over time, especially after his uncle was among those killed in a drone strike." Rahman may have first begun plotting a terrorist attack in late 2016, when he began researching lorries online, the court was told.

In the following months he was introduced to an undercover MI5 officer posing online as a senior Islamic State official known as ‘The Emir’. They exchanged dozens of messages with Rahman as his plans grew.

The Old Bailey heard he said he hoped to join his uncle in paradise and asked: "Can you put me in a sleeper cell asap? I was raided for connection to my uncle and I am under investigation." It is claimed that Rahman said the "brother in Manchester had done well" in a reference to the Manchester Arena bombing which killed 22 people.

Rahman, of Finchley, North London, denies preparing terrorist acts, and intending to assist Imran with terrorist acts.

Imran, of, Birmingham, who allegedly planned to join Islamic State in Libya after saving up £3 600 and obtaining a fake passport, denies preparing terrorist acts. He also denies possessing a terrorist document.

The trial, which is expected to last up to six weeks, continues.