The accused, all from London, are charged with conspiring to murder passengers aboard three Underground trains and a double-decker bus throughout the city. The attempts were copy-cat attacks mimicking those of 7 July that killed 56 people, including the four men believed to be suicide bombers.

 

At the Old Bailey, judge Alexander Butterfield, indicated the trial could last up to two months, after it begins "at some time" in September 2006. No pleas were entered during the short hearing, which was a legal formality for lawyers to discuss the progress of the case.

 

The five men - Muktar Said Ibrahim, Ramzi Mohamed, Yassin Omar, Hussain Osman and Manfo Kwaku Asiedu - watched proceedings via videolink from Belmarsh and Woodhill prisons, where they are in custody.

 

All five spoke only to confirm their names, that they could see and hear the proceedings and that they had been given the opportunity to speak to their defence teams. The accused have been in custody since August. They face a variety of charges.

 

Numerous charges

 

Ibrahim, 27, Mohamed, 23 and Omar, 24 each face four charges: attempted murder, conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to endanger life by using explosives and making or possessing explosives with intent to endanger life. Asiedu, 24 is charged with conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to cause explosions likely to endanger life. Osman, 27, is accused of attempted murder and conspiracy to murder.

 

Osman also faces four further charges under the Explosive Substances Act and a seventh charge alleging he was in possession of explosives "for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism".

 

All five were denied bail. A further administrative hearing will take place in January next year.

 

Ten others also face lesser charges relating to the case, including allegations they failed to disclose information about suspects or their whereabouts.