Twenty-four Britons have been arrested in the London Airline plot, and the Bank of England has suspended the bank accounts of 19 suspects. Nineteen of the suspects are Muslim men between the ages of 17 to 35, and have been identified as “Abdula Ali, Cossor Ali, Shahzad Ali, Nabeel Hussain, Tanvir Hussain, Umair Hussain, Umar Islam, Waseem Kayani, Assan Khan, Waheed Khan, Osman Khatib, Abdul Patel, Tayib Rauf, Muhammed Saddique, Assad Sarwar, Ibrahim Savant, Amin Tariq, Shamin Uddin and Waheed Zaman.” At least two of the suspects “had converted to devout form of Islam.” Two of the suspects are reported to have met Matiur Rehman, an al Qaeda explosives expert in Pakistan. Matiur Rehman was an aid to Khallid Sheikh Muhammed, the mastermind behind 9-11, and currently al Qaeda’s planning director who is the prime suspect behind the U.S. consulate bombing in Karachi earlier this year.
The FBI is currently investigating an American connection to the airline plot. Pakistan is claiming credit for foiling the plot, and has arrested 8, including 2 Britons and 5 Pakistanis. The suspects were arrested in Lahore and Karachi. “A Pakistani intelligence official said an Islamic militant arrested near the Afghan-Pakistan border several weeks ago provided a lead that played a role in unearthing the plot,” reports the Times Online. Money has been wired from Pakistan to the United Kingdom, some of the suspects traveled from the UK to Pakistan, and a ”martyrdom’ video was found during raids in England.
Intelligence sources indicate August 16th was the planned date for the operation. DNA India reports, based on a source at Heathrow Airport, that a ‘dry run’ was foiled last Sunday when a man on a terror watch list was identified on a flight from the UK to the US. The man was traveling with his wife and three children, and liquid explosives were seized. This has yet to be confirmed.
ABC News and the New York Times provide background information on liquid explosives and explain the difficulties in detecting these substances. The bombs were to be made of acetone peroxide, otherwise known as ‘Mother of Satan,’ the same material used in the 7/7 London Tubes bombings. Just hours to the news of the airline plot, Mike Kraft discussed the bottlenecks in the U.S. government’s interagency research and development efforts and the deployment of counterterrorism technology.
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