British official: 'necessary to take action' now against 12 men suspected in terror plot
British authorities rounded up 12 men Monday morning suspected in a terror plot. Police said the arrests are not connected to the Dec. 11 suicide bombing in Sweden.
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Counterterrorism sources told the BBC that the “significant” operation was related to an investigation into “Al-Qaeda-inspired terrorism.” The BBC reports that the plot was related to explosives, and did not contain a plan for a Mumbai-style killing spree by coordinated gunmen.Skip to next paragraph
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In September, European security officials warned that a group was planning such attacks in the UK, Germany, and France. The Christian Science Monitor reported at the time that such an attack was likely far from being realized.
The BBC also reports that the sources do not believe the plot is linked to last week’s bombing in Stockholm by an Iraqi-born man who had lived in Britain. Nor was the plot part of a coordinated series of holiday season attacks, according to a British security official quoted by the Associated Press. Iraqi officials warned last week that captured insurgents said the bombing in Sweden was a part of a series of planned attacks on Europe and the US.
CNN reports that Britain’s intelligence organization, MI5, led the operation, and says that the suspects were all of Pakistani descent. The BBC and the Guardian said some of the suspects were from Bangladesh.
European nations have in recent months issued warnings of possible plots. Beginning with a vague “travel alert” from the US State Department in October telling travelers to Europe to be advised of possible terror attacks, several European nations joined with warnings of their own. As the Monitor reported, France’s warning focused specifically on Britain, saying an attack there was “very likely.”
Today's arrests were the first major raid in Britain since April 2009, when 12 suspects were arrested in one day. Police at that time claimed to have broken up a plot to attack Manchester, but the suspects were never charged, according to the Associated Press.
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