London (AsiaNews) British police announced today they had thwarted a plot to blow up at least ten planes with explosive devices smuggled on board in hand luggage. Overnight 25 arrests were made in the London area and Birmingham21 people were kept in custody.
Security has been stepped up causing hundreds of flight delays and cancellations at British airports.
The government is advising people not to travel. Those who have to must undergo tighter security screening. While hand luggage is no longer allowed, passengers can carry on a minimum of items which must be contained in a see-through envelope. No electrical or battery powered items are allowed in the plane, including laptops and mobile phones. And even beverages are checked, including baby's milk.
The security alert comes 13 months after four British Islamist suicide bombers killed 52 people and injured about 700 on London's transport network.
The just foiled plot included blowing up up to ten planes in mid-flight from Great Britain to the United States.
According to Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Paul Stephenson, the alleged plotters had intended "mass murder on an unimaginable scale".
Police does not have yet any information about those arrested, but it is thought that they might be of Pakistani origin.
Independent terrorism expert Paul Beaver said the nature of the alleged plot suggested a connection to al-Qaeda. "In the last two months al-Qaeda promised that it would avenge Iraq and Afghanistan by attacking British and American aviation assetsI see a direct link with that," he told Reuters.