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British police thwart massive aircraft bomb plot


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British police thwart massive aircraft bomb plot

LONDON - British authorities thwarted a terrorist plot to blow up several aircraft mid-flight between the United States and Britain using explosives smuggled in hand luggage, officials said Thursday.

Britain's Home Secretary John Reid said the alleged plot was "significant" and that terrorists aimed to "bring down a number of aircraft through mid-flight explosions, causing a considerable loss of life."

Police arrested a number of people overnight in London after a major covert counterterrorism operation that had lasted several months, but did not immediately say how many.

The U.S. government responded by raising its threat assessment to the highest level for commercial flights from Britain to the United States early Thursday.

"We believe that these arrests (in London) have significantly disrupted the threat, but we cannot be sure that the threat has been entirely eliminated or the plot completely thwarted," said U.S.

Homeland Security Secretary

Michael Chertoff.

Chertoff added in the statement there was no indication of current plots within the U.S.

Britain's national threat level was also raised to critical — a warning level that indicates the likelihood of an imminent terrorist attack. The threat rating was posted on the Web site of Britain's MI5 — the British domestic spy agency.

London's Heathrow airport was closed to most European flights Thursday morning following a heightened terrorist alert, officials said.

The closure on incoming traffic applied to flights of three hours or less, affecting most of the incoming flights from Europe, an airport spokesman said on condition of anonymity in line with airport policy.

Prime Minister

Tony Blair, vacationing in the Caribbean, had briefed

President Bush on the situation overnight, Blair's office said.

The British Department of Transport advised all passengers that they would not be permitted to carry any hand baggage on board any aircraft departing from any airport in the country. Passengers faced delays as tighter security was hastily enforced at the country's airports and additional measures were put in place for all flights.

British Airways said some flights were likely to be canceled. Laptop computers, mobile phones, iPods, and remote controls were among items banned from being carried on its planes.

"I'm terrified really, I'm really scared," said Sarah Challiner, 20, who was waiting to board a flight from Manchester's airport.

Hannah Pillinger, 24, seemed less concerned by the announcement. "Eight hours without an iPod, that's the most inconvenient thing," she said, waiting at the Manchester airport.

London's Heathrow airport was the departure point for a devastating terrorist attack on a Pan Am airplane on Dec. 21, 1988. The blast over Lockerbie, Scotland, killed all 259 people aboard Pan Am Flight 103 and 11 people on the ground.

The explosive was hidden in a portable radio which was hidden in checked baggage.

A Scottish court convicted Libyan intelligence agent Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi of the bombing in 2001 and sentenced him to life imprisonment. A second Libyan was acquitted.

In 2003, Libya officially accepted responsibility for the attack and agreed to pay relatives of each bombing victim at least $5 million.

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I think I'm taking Continental over to Britain.

See, this is significant to me since I have to take a laptop over to Britain for school and I'll be damned if I'm putting that thing in with the actual luggage. It'll get broken.

But I'll wait for more developments to see exactly what's going to be done internationally.

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Besides all this about terrorism (which, I would applaud the British intelligence services for a good job), there is another part to this whole incident.

I've been thinking it for awhile, and I think airplanes as the main method of transport over long distances (but especially short-long distances, like flights within one country) are not going to be around much longer.

It's time to strike while the iron is hot and invest in my zeppelin company.

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Besides all this about terrorism (which, I would applaud the British intelligence services for a good job), there is another part to this whole incident.

I've been thinking it for awhile, and I think airplanes as the main method of transport over long distances (but especially short-long distances, like flights within one country) are not going to be around much longer.

It's time to strike while the iron is hot and invest in my zeppelin company.

Hindenburg.jpg

Really though, it was interesting how the terrorist used a coke bottle and a disposable camera. Talk about some McGuyver shit right there.

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[offensive image]

It's totally off-topic, but I could write reams about how riding in a dirigible is way safer than riding in an airplane. So I'll just say for now; the only people on the Hindenburg who died were the people who jumped. Everyone who waited for the thing to land on its own survived unharmed.

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That kind of stuff isn’t that hard…

True. But very few people have the balls to attempt to build their own bomb on an airplane.

Also, if the TSA keeps stripping back on what we're allowed to bring while flying, soon we'll have to leave behind everything except clothes. I mean, geez, if shampoo and soda is out, who's to say pencils are safe? They could be used as a weapon after all. As could a lot of other things, really.

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Please clip your fingernails before boarding the flight.

I suspect soon everyone will have to wear one-piece "flight suits" made entirely out of soft cotton with little hand covers to make sure no one does anything bad.

You know, like those ones that disobedient toddlers have to wear.

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