21 in England arrested over plot

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The BBC, among others, is reporting that about 20 people in Britain were arrested overnight for planning to blow up commercial airlines tavelling to America:

A plot to blow up planes in flight from the UK to the US and commit “mass murder on an unimaginable scale” has been disrupted, Scotland Yard has said.

It is thought the plan was to detonate explosive devices smuggled in hand luggage on to as many as 10 aircraft.

Police are searching premises after 21 people were arrested. Home Secretary John Reid said they believed the “main players” were accounted for.

This was a new type of attack, apparently:

BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera said the plot was thought to have involved a series of “waves” of simultaneous attacks, targeting three planes each time.

He also said the plan “revolved around liquids of some kind”.

“Officials say the explosives would have been sophisticated and extremely effective,” our correspondent said.

From Sky News:

US Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the conspiracy was sophisticated, well-advanced and well-planned and “suggestive of an al Qaeda plot”.

He has introduced a ban on liquids being carried on to US planes, saying the plotters would have used liquid explosives disguised as drinks and electronic devices made to look like everyday items.

More later.

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