UK Terror Plot Disrupted - Details

For Jews, it’s Passover. For Christians, it’s Easter. For Islamic terrorists, it’s targets of opportunity.

Report by Douglas J. Hagmann, Director

Trafford Shopping Complex (courtesy PrideofManchester.com)

Trafford Shopping Complex (courtesy PrideofManchester.com)

11 April 2009: Intelligence officials in the UK arrested 12 Muslim men who planned to carry out an attack specifically targeting shoppers for the Christian Easter holiday. The results, according to officials, had the potential to be more devastating than the July 7, 2005 London bombings that killed 52 people. At least ten of the men arrested are Pakistani nationals from the North West Frontier Province who are in the UK on student visas, according to British intelligence sources.  The ages of the men range from 18 to 41; at least ten residences in Manchester and Liverpool are currently being searched by police and intelligence officials.

The terrorists had selected at least 3 separate shopping centers, targeting Christian shoppers for the East holiday. Additionally, the photograph of the Birdcage nightclub was found and believed to be a possible target of the terrorists. The Arndale and Trafford shopping centers, and St. Anne’s Square were the other reported targets. Photographs, maps, and other documents relating to those locations were found by police at more than one of the suspects’ residences.

Currently, the BBC and other media outlets are reporting that the terrorist plot was “more inspirational than operational.” The BBC

UK officials search the residence of a UK terror suspect
UK officials search the residence of a UK terror suspect

is also reporting that the staff at the shopping centers identified as terrorist targets had not been informed of any threat, and that stores were operating as normal over the Easter weekend.  “That is not exactly how I would characterize the state of their operation,” stated a British intelligence official interviewed by the Northeast Intelligence Network.  ”There is evidence that the plans were a go for this weekend, and there is evidence that ’some of the men’ had handled explosives or the components to manufacture explosives,” added this source.

Police are currently looking for a location that served as a bomb factory in the Liverpool area where explosives reportedly were assembled.

Pakistan: Base of Islamic terrorism

Having a population of about 170 million, Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world. It ranks second in Muslim population, just behind Indonesia. According to UK intelligence sources, at least 75% of all terror plots uncovered in the UK have originated in Pakistan.  Mohammed Siddique Khan, the leader of the 2005 London bombing plot, was found to have visited Pakistan several times to meet with terror leaders and coordinate terror training at terror training camps based in Pakistan.

Since the 9/11 attacks, at least 50 residents of Western countries, including the U.S., Canada and the UK, all from Pakistan, have been convicted of charges related to Islamic terrorism.

According to intelligence reports, between 4000-5000 British Muslims have received training at these Pakistani terrorist camps, and nearly a half-million UK citizens visit Pakistan annually.

Pakistan is also the home of terror kingpin Sheikh Mubarek Ali Gilani, the head of Muslims of the Americas, Inc. (MOA) and the International Quranic Open University based in rural upstate New York.