The UK has been a great ally in the War on Terror. Tonight I heard on Fox News that a terror plot in England was foiled. Some terrorist cells have been reportedly testing the UK’s airport security system and they found a weakness: carry-on luggage. The plot was to smuggle liquid explosives onto at least 20 10 airplanes travelling from the UK to the U.S, using carry-on luggage. The plot was to blow up the planes in mid-flight. This is similar to a terror plot that was planned to take place a few years before 9/11. It involved a similar number of international flights, but the plot was to take place on flights from Indonesia (I believe) countries in Asia to the U.S. Like this plot, the terrorists wanted to blow up the planes in mid-flight.
It’s being reported that most of the suspects involved in this plot have been arrested. They are UK citizens of Pakistani descent. They were caught by a counter-terrorism operation conducted by the British government that’s been going on for several months.
Carry-on luggage is now severely restricted on UK flights. Most items are reportedly banned, except for items that are essential. Flight delays are reportedly long at the UK’s airports, and some flights have been cancelled.
The reason this is such a significant story is that international flights hold a larger passenger capacity than normal, trans-national airplanes. According to Wikipedia, a Boeing 747, for example, holds anywhere from 416 to 524 passengers. Multiply this by 10 and you get an idea of how devastating this would have been had they pulled it off.
This information is just preliminary. Some of it may be inaccurate.
I thank the UK for stopping this terror plot. Good job! You’ve saved anywhere from 4,000 to 5,000 lives!
Edit 8/11/06: The formerly secret U.S. NSA international wiretap program assisted in uncovering the plot and identifying who was involved. Liquids of any type in carry-on luggage on U.S. flights are also severely restricted for the time being. The U.S. has put flights from the UK to the U.S. at “red” threat alert status, the highest level. So unfortunately those flying from the UK to the U.S. can expect to be examined with a wary eye.
With this going on it really makes me wonder about the folks who say we can negotiate with Al Qaeda and such. From where I sit it looks like they just want to kill us, no matter our station in society. The people flying on these planes are not government officials, soldiers, etc. They didn’t even target anyone in particular. The people on the planes are like you and me. Such terrorists know no bounds of behavior in warfare. Even negotiation would be seen as an opportunity for them to regroup so they can kill more of us.