The nine men suspected of plotting terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom during the holiday season downloaded videos of American-born al-Qaida cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and had read the terrorist group's English-language magazine, British media reports say.
The men were arrested Dec. 20 and face charges of conspiring to cause explosions in a terrorist attack. The London Stock Exchange, the U.S. Embassy, the London Eye and Big Ben were among their prospective targets.
But the suspects also had information on two rabbis, a priest and a Church of Scientology office.
Police searching their homes found at least two copies of Inspire magazine and a magistrate judge was told Monday that the men were inspired by Awlaki. In its first few issues, the magazine has tried to connect with Western readers, encouraging them to wage small-scale attacks which "bleed the enemy to death."
Police and British intelligence had been watching the men for months, the Guardian reported. That may explain some of the detailed information provided in their hearing Monday, including a summary of their travels scouting potential targets. At Big Ben, "a mobile phone had appeared to be raised and pointed towards the clock tower," the Telegraph reported.
They are being held without bail and are due back in court January 14.