Manchester  cell is a group of three British citizens from Pakistani descent, who are living in Greater Manchester region of UK: Rangzieb Ahmed, born in 1975, of Fallowfield, Manchester; Habib Ahmed, born in 1980 and not a relative of Rangzieb Ahmed, of Cheetham Hill and his wife Mehreen Haji, born in 1981. The three were involved, with Aslam Awan,  in an international terror plot related to Al Qaeda from 2005 up to their arrest in 08/2006.

Rangzieb Ahmed, although born in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, had spent most of his life outside UK after he became estranged from his family. However, during his visits in Manchester, in 2005, he managed to recruit for terror Habib Ahmed, who worked as a taxi driver and a supporter of the banned Al-Muhajiroun.

In 05/2005 both Rangzieb Ahmed and Habib Ahmed ewere engaged with a man named Mohammed Zillur Rahman and another man called Imran, who mediated between them and a senior Al Qaeda leader Abu Hamza Rabia, who was killed in unclear circumstances, on 11/30/2005. 

At that time Habib Ahmed and Rangzieb Ahmed were in Dubai, in the Gulf Emirates, meeting their counterparts Mohammed Zillur Rahman and Imran. Habib Ahmed returned to UK while Rangzieb Ahmed and his two associates – Mohammed Zillur Rahman and Imran flew to Pakistan via China. They were due to fly on to South Africa as part of a “major activity”. Eventually things went wrong in South Africa, the mission was abolished and Rangzieb Ahmed never went to South Africa.

On his way back to UK from Dubai, via Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, Holland, around Christmas 2005, Habib Ahmed’s rucksack was secretly examined, which allegedly had contained traces of explosives. Habib Ahmed later disposed of his rucksack near his father-in-law’s home. In 04/2006 Habib Ahmed went for training in Pakistan which included explosives training. His wife, Mehreen Haji, sent him £4,000 to fund his training in Pakistan. 

After Habib Ahmed’s arrest in UK, in 08/2006, following his return from Pakistan, the phone number of Abu Hamza Rabia was found on a note written in invisible ink at his home. The phone number was smuggled to UK by an associate whose job was to, allegedly, help him in directing his Al Qaeda activities. Website searches, recovered from Habib Ahmed’s computer, revealed the details and addresses of British Army bases and training offices, US military bases in the UK and the chain of command for the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terror unit in London.

Rangzieb Ahmed was arrested, simultaneously, in Pakistan. He was extradited to UK on 09/08/2007.  Rangzieb Ahmed and Habib Ahmed were accused of being Al Qaeda members and of directing a foreign terror mission which was aborted when the leader, Abu Hamza Rabia, was killed on 11/30/2005.

In court Rangzieb Ahmed admitted that he was a member of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen in Pakistan, a proscribed terror group, but denies being a member of Al Qaida.

Habib Ahmed, who denies all charges against him, is accused of travelling to Pakistan to receive terrorist training.

The prosecution also claims Habib Ahmed’s wife, Mehreen Haji, sent £4,000 to fund his training in Pakistan. She is accused of two counts of arranging funding for the purposes of terrorism.

The trial of the three Manchester cell defendants began in Manchester on Wednesday 09/24/2008.


Rangzieb Ahmed was sentenced, on Frday 12/19/2008, to minimum of 10 Years up to life imprisonment. His associate Habib Ahmed, was sentenced to a total of 10 years in prison for being an Al Qaeda member and for possessing a document for terror-related purposes.

Summary ;

* It is almost clear that one of the two Dubai mediators Mohammed Zillur Rahman or Imran or both were, in fact, British agents who helped to reveal the plot and to locate Abu Hamza Rabia.


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