Abid Naseer accused of plotting Manchester terror attack as big as 9/11
Abid Naseer accused of plotting Manchester terror attack as big as 9/11Reuters

Manchester was the target of a terror plot which was to be as big as the 9/11 Twin Tower attacks, a trial has heard.

A court heard that Abid Naseer planned to blow up the city's Arndale shopping centre as well as sites in Copenhagen and New York in co-ordinated strikes.

His trial in the United States was told the planned attacks would have caused more deaths than the 7/7 London Tube bombings and be second in scale only to the plane attacks on New York in 2001.

They were intended to have a "devastating" impact on Manchester and the "mindset of people" there, according to former FBI agent Manny Gomez.

"The impact, the terror that this would have created in these particular cities would have been devastating to those cities' economies, to just the mindset of these people carrying on day to day," he said.

"It would have been huge, it would have been only second to 9/11 in terms of death, damage, devastation to the psyche of the people being affected by it, it would have been significant."

Naseer was arrested in 2009 while in Britain on a visa from Pakistan. A police investigation into him and others collapsed in disarray, after sensitive details were accidentally leaked by senior Metropolitan Police officer Bob Quick.

In 2010 the United States demanded his extradition to stand trial for his alleged role in a terrorist conspiracy and and supporting a terror group.