Ex-Syrian doctor jailed over Leith flat explosives

Faris al-Khori was arrested after police were called to a flat in Leith. Picture: Toby Williams/ Police Scotland
Faris al-Khori was arrested after police were called to a flat in Leith. Picture: Toby Williams/ Police Scotland
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DETECTIVES have revealed they are no closer to understanding the motive of a former Syrian doctor caught with a massive hoard of explosive ingredients and recipes for bombs after a chance find at his Edinburgh flat.

Faris al-Khori was jailed for 40 months at the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday after he was found in possession of chemicals, large amounts of nails, ball bearings, rods, bolts and nuts and even a bag of toxic beans which can be used to produce the poison ricin.

Al-Khori, 62, who was unemployed and on benefits, also had a small amount of the highly volatile explosive lead picrate, which was so dangerous that the Forensic Explosives Laboratory refused to take delivery of it and it was destroyed.

But Police Scotland said any links to terrorism had been ruled out, and insisted al-Khori – who was born in Syria but arrived in the UK in 1984 – had acted alone and not as part of any wider cell.

At the height of the investigation more than 100 Scottish officers worked on the case in collaboration with the FBI and international police, but they admitted al-Khori’s motivation remained “unidentified”.

In April last year, more than 1000 items were seized from two flats associated with al-Khori at Fidra Court in Muirhouse and Persevere Court in Leith.

Alongside a host of dangerous chemicals, around 250 firearm handbooks and recipes for explosives were found in the properties.

The haul was only unearthed after firefighters forced entry into flats at Fidra Court following a fire at a rubbish chute.

Al-Khori, who police described as a “loner”, had trained as a doctor in Iraq and had attempted to enter the profession in the UK, but gave up after failing his medical exams more than ten times.

He was the full-time carer for his wife, who suffers from schizophrenia, and has had British citizenship since 1998. He told the court he used the chemicals for cleaning purposes.

Detective Superintendent David Gordon, who led the investigation, said the former doctor had shown “utter disregard for the occupants of both buildings”.

He added: “This was a significant and complex inquiry for Police Scotland, to safely deal with these volatile items and seek to establish al-Khori’s motives for storing them.”