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Friday, August 11, 2006

Day of terror strikes was planned for August 16

Terrorists were planning to unleash a series of deadly mid-air explosions on flights between London and America on August 16, it has been revealed today.

Members of the terror group, who were arrested in a series of raids by anti-terror police yesterday, were due to mount a dry run today to check if they could smuggle components for liquid explosives through Britain's airports.

United Airline tickets dated next Wednesday were found by police at the home of one of the raided addresses.
One US intelligence official told today's Evening Standard: "The bombers were a couple of days from a test, and a few days from doing it."

The airlines targeted were United, American and Continental, which fly to New York, Washington and California.

Today the Bank of England named and froze the assets of 19 of the 24 air terror suspects arrested. The bank was acting under the instruction of Chancellor Gordon Brown and on the advice of the police and security services.

It acted under powers granted by the United Nations to tackle the financing of terrorism in the wake of the September 11 2001 attacks. Its action means it is a crime to make their money available without a licence from the Treasury.

The oldest of the named suspects is 35 and the youngest 17. Thirteen of them are from east London - nine from Walthamstow, one from Chingford, one from Leyton, one from the Limehouse and Poplar area and one from Clapton.

Four are from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, and the other two are from Birmingham and Stoke Newington, north London.

The imam of Walthamstow mosque, where many of the suspects live, urged the Muslim community to remain calm and assist the police in their inquries. The unnamed imam added: "We'd like to remind people that the suspects are innocent until proven guilty."

Meanwhile, a senior Pakistani government official said today that two British nationals arrested in Pakistan provided information about the alleged UK air terror plot.

The UK remains on a "critical" level of alert against terrorism and air passengers at UK airports are expected to face widespread disruption again today following the introduction of new anti-terrorism measures yesterday including a ban on hand luggage.

The plot, which was described as an attempt to commit "mass murder on an unimaginable scale" by blowing up passenger jet, may have been thwarted just days before it was due to be carried out.

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