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Terrorism & Security

Nine men charged with planning terrorist attack in the UK

Nine men were charged by the British authorities with planning a terrorist bombing, the latest in a spate of alleged European plots disrupted before they were carried out.

By Jonathan AdamsCorrespondent / December 27, 2010

Snow dusts the Houses of Parliament in central London. Nine men have been held on suspicion of plotting a terrorist attack on the British Parliament and the London Eye.

Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

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British police have charged nine of 12 men arrested last week on suspicion that they were plotting to carry out a terrorist attack.

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The charges come in the wake of warnings from Western intelligence agencies in October about possible terror attacks in European cities. A common thread in the arrests and charges is that they involve "homegrown" Muslim plotters who are European citizens.

The nine men are charged with planning to cause an explosion or explosions "of a nature likely to endanger life or cause serious injury to property" in October and November this year, according to the Guardian. The paper wrote the men will also be charged with downloading materials to plan an attack, carrying out reconnaissance and testing bombs.

Three of the original 12 have since been released without charge.

The Sunday Mercury, citing "a security source close to the investigation" reported that at least five of the men were of Bangladeshi origin, and that they had planned attacks against the British Parliament and the London Eye, the Ferris wheel that is one of Britain's top tourist attractions.

Security officials have "played down" any connection between the plotters and Al Qaeda, the Mercury said.

The men are aged between 19 and 28, lived in Cardiff, London, and Stoke-on-Trent, and were arrested a week ago by unarmed police, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Sky News broadcast a statement on the case from Sue Hemming, a top British counterterror official.

"Lawyers from the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service] Counter Terrorism Division have been working with the police on this case from an early stage and were on hand to give advice while the men were interviewed.

"I have reviewed the evidence provided to me by the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit and I am satisfied there is sufficient for a realistic prospect of conviction, and it is in the public interest that these men should be charged with these offences."

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