|Armed Police, Credit David Dyson/David Dyson|
Wednesday, 3 December 2014
Carry-on Luggage, Phones on Flights Could Be Banned Over Reports of Christmas Terror Plot
“We’ve been told that five planes are being targeted in a high-profile hit before Christmas. They’ve been waiting for the big one,” an airport security source told Britain’s Sunday Express.
The source described the plot as “alive and real.”
The would-be saboteurs are planning a 9/11-style coordinated attack on London and other major European cities, the Express reported.
The threat has spurred British officials to not only consider banning carry-on luggage, but also cell phones and other electronic gadgets.
“High-level negotiations are continuing at governmental level, but at the moment there has been little done to respond,” a security insider told the Express.
“There is paralysis because of the difficulty of banning hand luggage, which is one of the strongest weapons we have against the new threats.”
U.S. intelligence officials learned of the plot about two months ago and believe terrorist sleeper cells are preparing to carry it out.
The plan reportedly involves Islamic extremists who are vowing to smuggle bombs on planes en route to European destinations, the Express reported.
The Al Qaeda splinter group Khorasan, based in Syria, has threatened to target U.S. and British airlines with nonmetallic explosives that can be hidden in cell phones and computers.
In September, the Pentagon warned that Khorasan was plotting an “imminent attack against Western interests.” At the time, a U.S. intelligence official told CNN the Khorasan members were planning to bring down commercial flights with explosives hidden in toothpaste containers.
During the Winter Olympic in Sochi, Russia, in February, the Department of Homeland Security issued a warning for foreign airlines flying there to be on the lookout for toothpaste bombs.
Earlier this month, Khorasan’s most trusted bomb-maker, Frenchman David Drugeon, 24, was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Syria. But Drugeon’s death appears to have done little to slow Khorasan’s terror ambitions.
“Now the threat is more diverse in terms of the number of groups out there who will be looking to carry out attacks in the West,” British Home Secretary Theresa May said in a speech last week.