Ali was recorded saying to his ex-wife: "Oh, you think this is a flipping 'Four Lions.' We're one man short."
Raffaello Pantucci, a terrorism expert at the Royal United Services Institute think tank, said the foiled plot bore the hallmarks of a decentralized al-Qaida, in which local cells operate independently, often after receiving rudimentary training.
He said that "the time spent training foreign fighters by al-Qaida or affiliated networks is now being constrained because there is the threat of drone strikes" on the Pakistan-Afghan border.
"The command and control element is drawing back," he said. "It has a negative impact on their capacity to launch attacks because people aren't being trained as well. There is sometimes a clownish element to it."
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