With terror attacks planned for as early as this symbolic four-day Easter holiday weekend in England, Muslim terrorists who used student visas to enter the country had identified crowded shopping malls and nightclubs as likely targets as they sought to maximize casualties, according to counter-terrorism sources.
Police are continuing to search 10 properties across the north-west of England in connection with an alleged planned terror bomb attack.
They have found pictures of popular Manchester shopping centres and a nightclub, the BBC has learned.
Twelve men – 11 of them Pakistani, and most of them students – are still being questioned over the alleged plot.
Gordon Brown and Pakistan’s president are “committed to working together” to combat terror, says Downing Street.
Although the police previously insisted there was no intelligence pointing to any specific targets, sources have told the BBC photographs of four popular Manchester locations were recovered during searches.
These were the Arndale and Trafford Centre shopping complexes, Birdcage nightclub and St Ann’s Square.
On Thursday, security staff at the Trafford Centre and officials at Manchester Arndale said they had not been informed of any threat.
An Arndale spokesman said: “Both Manchester Arndale and the The Birdcage will be operating as normal over the Easter weekend.”