Accessibility links

British Official: Key Terror Plot Players in Custody


British officials say police are confident they have captured all the main figures in an alleged plot to blow up U.S. airliners over the Atlantic Ocean.

Home Secretary John Reid spoke Thursday after police arrested 24 people following an eight-month surveillance operation. But U.S. and British news reports say five suspects are still at large.

Officials say a martyrdom video was found during Thursday's raids, and that the suspects could have been just days away from carrying out their plan.

They say the suspects were ready to smuggle liquid explosives onto as many as 10 U.S. airplanes (including United, American and Continental airliners).

The Bank of England froze the assets of 19 of the arrested suspects, who range in age from 17 to 35.

President Bush called the plot a reminder the United States is at war with what he called "Islamic fascists."

Top British and U.S. officials say the plot is similar to a failed 1995 al-Qaida plot to blow up a number of airliners over the Pacific.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair Thursday thanked British police and intelligence agents for what he called their "immense effort" in protecting the country.

Al-Qaida terrorists hijacked four aircraft in the United States on September 11th, 2001, flying them into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon. A fourth airliner crashed on its way to another major Washington target.

In December 2001, Briton Richard Reid was arrested trying to set off a bomb hidden in his shoe on a commercial passenger jet.

XS
SM
MD
LG