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'Islamic State emir' jailed for life in UAE over plot to attack Ikea

Court said self-proclaimed IS leader also planned to attack Abu Dhabi's Formula 1 circuit and assassinate an Emirati leader
A CCTV image released by Abu Dhabi police of December 2014 for which al-Hashemi's wife was executed (AFP)

An Emirati court on Monday sentenced a self-proclaimed local leader of the Islamic State (IS) group to life in prison for plotting a series of attacks, local media reported.

The court in Abu Dhabi convicted Emirati citizen Mohammed al-Hashemi, 34, of plotting attacks on the city's Formula 1 circuit and its branch of Swedish furniture chain Ikea, as well as planning to assassinate an unspecified Emirati leader, The National daily newspaper reported.

Hashemi's wife, also an Emirati, was executed in July for the militant-inspired December 2014 murder of an American school teacher at the Reem Island shopping mall, one month after her husband's arrest.

The National quoted a witness as telling the court that Hashemi had "appointed himself" an "emir" of the militant group and had also, according to prosecution documents, donated some 80,000 dirhams ($21,800) to al-Qaeda.

With his wife, he had "planned terrorist attacks in the country in retaliation for the UAE's stance against ISIL," the newspaper quoted prosecutors as saying, using another name for IS.

The United Arab Emirates is a member of the US-led coalition that has been bombing IS since mid-2014 in parts of Syria and Iraq under its control.

The couple had performed a "symbolic ceremony to pledge allegiance" to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a witness said, according to the daily.

International media are not allowed access such trials.

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