What prompted the UK to raise it’s terror alert status to severe over the weekend? It appears it may have been more than just a single, isolated threat.
First, the UK’s Times Online reports that it was raised by authorities fearing that Islamist terrorists planned to hijack an Indian passenger jet and crash it into a British city.
Indian hijack plot caused new UK terror alert
MI5 was told by the Indian authorities early last week about a suspected plot by militants linked to Al-Qaeda in Pakistan to hijack an Air India or Indian Airlines flight from Mumbai or Delhi.The warning, which came after the capture of a suspected Islamic leader, was contained in a detailed “threat assessment” sent to MI5 by the Indian Intelligence Bureau.
It did not state that Britain was a specific target. But police security sources said it had raised fears in London that a British city might be attacked.
However; The Independent reports:
Yemen Meeting Caused Switch To Severe Terror Alert
The terror threat to the UK was raised to “severe” after intelligence suggested this week’s London conferences on Yemen and Afghanistan could be used by al-Qa’ida as an opportunity to strike at the West, Whitehall sources said yesterday.
The Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, announced that Britain is on its second-highest alert level – meaning an attack is considered “highly likely” – on Friday evening amid concerns in London and Washington that al-Qa’ida is planning a renewed push against US and UK interests.
Other, anonymous, sources keen for levels of public awareness, or anxiety, to be raised gave different accounts. The Sunday Telegraph said that a group of female terrorists, who may have a “non-Arab” appearance, had been trained to attack western targets. The Sunday Times reported MI5 fears that Islamic terrorists planned to hijack an Indian airliner and crash it into a British city.
And as if those those were not sufficient reasons, there is also a threat of women suicide bombers, as reported in the Sunday Telegraph.
Al-Qaeda has trained female suicide bombers to attack West, US officials warn
Al-Qaeda terror cells have trained a group of female suicide bombers to attack Western targets, US officials have warned.
The women, who may have a “non Arab” appearance and be travelling on Western passports, have been prepared for their missions by the Yemeni group responsible for the operation to blow up an airliner over the United States on Christmas Day.
Details of the bombers emerged just hours after British spy chiefs raised the UK threat state to “severe” amid fears that al-Qaeda was planning a wave of attacks against western targets.