British Police Thwart Aircraft Bomb Plot

August 10, 2006

Authorities in London thwarted a terrorist plot to blow up aircraft mid-flight between Britain and the U.S. using explosives smuggled in hand luggage, police said Thursday.

Britain’s Home Secretary John Reid deemed the alleged plot significant and said it was designed to “bring down a number of aircraft through mid-flight explosions, causing a considerable loss of life.”

Authorities arrested a number of people overnight in London after a covert counter-terrorist operation lasting several months, police said in a statement.
The national threat level was raised to critical — a warning level that indicates the likelihood of an imminent terrorist attack. The threat rating — based on a U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s model — was posted on the Web site of Britain’s MI5 — the British domestic spy agency.

The U.S. government raised its threat level to the highest level for commercial flights from Britain to the United States early Thursday in response to a reported terror plot in London and also stepped up the general level for all flights within the U.S. or entering the country.

Security at Britain’s airports was increased and additional measures were put in place for all flights.

British Airways advised all passengers that they would not be permitted to carry any hand baggage on board any aircraft departing from any airport in the country.

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