British Airways airplane
British Airways airplane Adrian Pingstone

Three men were convicted in Britain on Thursday for plotting to blow up transatlantic airplanes in flight. Security experts say that if the three conspirators – and five co-conspirators – had not been caught, they could have murdered more people than were killed in the horrific September 11 attacks in the United States.

The three, Arafat Waheed Kahn, Waheed Zaman, and Ibrahim Savant, were cleared of charges regarding their role in targeting planes, but convicted of conspiracy to murder in connection to the same planned attack. A jury found that there was insufficient evidence to show that the three were aware of the specific target of the attack, but that they were clearly plotting to carry out a deadly terrorist attack.

Three of their fellow terrorists, Abdullah Ahmed Ali, Assad Sarwar, and Tanvir Hussein, were convicted last year.

The eight-man, Al-Qaeda linked terrorist cell was nabbed in 2006. The details of their plan, which included smuggling liquid chemicals on board disguised as water or juice and using them to build bombs in mid-flight, led to an international crackdown on bringing liquids aboard airplanes.

Abdullah Ahmed Ali, the ringleader of the plot, planned to target flights from London to San Francisco, New York, Washington, Chicago, Montreal and Toronto. Savant, Khan and Zaman had already created “martyrdom videos” in which they stated their intention to die as terrorists before they were arrested by police.

The three will be sentenced Friday, and could face up to life in prison.

Bomb Plot in Norway
Two men were arrested in Norway on Thursday for allegedly planning a terrorist bombing. A third suspect in the same plot was nabbed in Germany. The three are of Iraqi-Kurdish, Uzbek, and Chinese-Uighur origin; one held a Norwegian residency permit. They are believed to be linked to Al-Qaeda.

Norwegian police said the case was tied to the United States and Britain. They declined to give details of the case or of the target of the planned attack.