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Woman jailed for plotting to bomb St Paul's cathedral in London


LONDON (Reuters) - A woman who had plotted a suicide bomb attack on London's St Paul's Cathedral this Easter in support of Islamic State was jailed for life on Friday and told she must serve at least 14 years behind bars.

Safiyya Shaikh, 37, had planned to set off a bomb at the popular tourist attraction, to kill herself and visitors to the famous cathedral and another bomb at the hotel where they would have stayed before the attack, prosecutors said.

However, the husband and wife extremists she had contacted online to obtain the bombs and whom she believed shared her view of violent jihad were actually undercover officers.

She pleaded guilty to terrorism offences in February and was jailed on Friday at the Old Bailey court.

"Safiyya Shaikh chose to live her life as a violent extremist with a murderous hatred of those who did not share her twisted version of Islam," said Jenny Hopkins from Britain's Crown Prosecution Service.

"The damning evidence presented by the CPS of her planned suicide mission to St. Paul’s Cathedral left her with no room to talk her way out the charges."

Shaikh, a Muslim convert from west London, had scoped out security at the church and was then secretly filmed handing two bags to the "wife" in a park which were to be returned to her at a later date with two working bombs.

She told the couple in a secure message: "I really would love to destroy that place and the kaffir [unbelievers] there" and also praised Islamic State and encouraged the killing of civilians across the world, prosecutors said.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison)

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