Terrorist Plot to bring down U.S. bound Planes
Airline Plot Involved Liquid Explosives
By DANICA KIRKA
LONDON (AP) - British authorities said Thursday they thwarted a terrorist plot to simultaneously blow up several aircraft heading to the United States using explosives smuggled in carry-on luggage. U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the terrorists planned to use liquid explosives disguised as beverages and other common products and detonators disguised as electronic devices.
Passengers deal with delays and crowds at check-in desks at Gatwick Airport, in England, on Thursday, after British authorities said they thwarted a terrorist plot to blow up several aircraft in flight between the United Kingdom and the United States, using explosives smuggled in hand luggage.
Police arrested 21 people, saying they were confident they captured the main suspects in what U.S. officials said had the earmarks of an al-Qaida plot.
Officials raised security to its highest level in Britain and banned carry-on luggage on all trans-Atlantic flights. Huge crowds formed at security barriers at London's Heathrow airport as officials searching for explosives barred nearly every form of liquid outside of baby formula.
Washington raised its threat alert to its highest level for commercial flights from Britain to the United States amid fears the plot had not been completely crushed. The alert for all flights coming or going from the United States was also raised slightly.
Two U.S. counterterrorism officials said the terrorists had targeted United Airlines, American Airlines and Continental Airlines. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.
A U.S. intelligence official said the plotters had hoped to target flights to major airports in New York, Washington and California. Read the rest.