Police arrest 12 people ‘plotting terror attack’ in Britain

Anti-terror squad arrest 12 men ‘plotting to cause Christmas shopping carnage’

Daily Mail [UK]
20th December 2010

  • Police chief: ‘Arrests absolutely necessary’
  • Plot believed to involve ‘multiple’ locations

Twelve men were arrested early this morning in a major national counter-terrorism operation,  police said today.

The men – five from Cardiff, four from Stoke-on-Trent and three from London – were detained on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism in the UK.

The suspects, aged between 17 and 28, were detained by unarmed officers at approximately 5am.

It is understood that the plans for the alleged attacks were at an advanced stage and involved ‘multiple’ locations…

The police statement said five of the suspects were from Cardiff, four were from Stoke-on-Trent and three were from London, including the 17-year-old.

The operation is being led by Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Osborne, the Senior National Co-ordinator Terrorist Investigations, and is being coordinated from the West Midlands Counter-Terrorism Unit.

It also involves the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command, South Wales Police and Staffordshire Police, a spokesman said.

…The arrests come after intelligence agencies in Europe, Pakistan and the U.S. intercepted a credible Islamic plot to launch raids on European cities, in a similar style to the attacks in Mumbai, India, two years ago.

More than 170 people were killed during a 24-hour co-ordinated attack on Mumbai, also known as Bombay, by ten gunmen in November 2008. It has been blamed on Pakistani militants.

The planned attack in September would reportedly have been similar to the deadly commando-style raids in Mumbai, with other European cities, in France and Germany, also targeted.

It led [Home Secretary Theresa] May to back a warning by the United States for its citizens to be vigilant when visiting Europe…

The complete article is at the Daily Mail.

Update: From The Guardian, Anti-terror raids lead to 12 arrests over multiple bomb attack fears. Sources said that suspected targets included sites in Whitehall, and Christmas shoppers and revellers in the West Midlands:

…Sources with knowledge of the operation said the arrests followed intelligence that targets including “public spaces” and shopping areas in the West Midlands were part of a suspected plot. Sites in Whitehall, including around the Houses of Parliament, were also said to be possible targets. Sources said it is believed that the targets had been scouted as part of the alleged plot.

If the intelligence and assessment by British counter-terrorism officials are correct, it means an attack may have been averted with days to spare. The multiple arrests followed a long undercover investigation led by MI5, according to counter-terrorism officials…

Update 2: Terror Expert Walid Phares: Christmas Prime Time for Jihad Attack

Al-Qaida has spawned a new generation of homegrown jihadists who are harder to detect but just as deadly as those who inflicted the 9/11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000, terror expert Walid Phares tells Newsmax.TV. These budding terrorists focus on inflicting pain at symbolic times, which makes the Christmas season a prime period to attack, says Phares, an adviser to the Anti-Terrorism Caucus in the U.S. House.

“We’re not dealing anymore with the Mohamed Atta-type of the 19 who attacked us on 9/11,” Phares said in the exclusive Newsmax.TV interview. “We’re dealing with people who are born in the West and in America and in Western Europe, people who have converted. I mean we’re talking about from the shoe bomber to Jihad Jane.”…

Watch video at the link.

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