'Chemical bomb plot foiled in UK'

British and US intelligence services have reportedly foiled a plot to detonate a chemical bomb in the United Kingdom by members of al-Qaida.

    British police are on a heightened state of alert

    Though the London police refused to be drawn into discussing the aborted plot, both British and American media on Tuesday claimed security services had foiled it after intercepting communications between potential attackers.

    The plan was apparently to detonate a combination of explosives and a highly toxic substance called osmium tetroxide.

    Media reports said the suspected plotters were not thought to have succeeded in obtaining any of the chemical.

    Targeting civilians

    They said the potential target was an area in which there could be concentrations of people, possibly within a confined space.

    "The plotters were thought to be sympathetic to the aims of al-Qaida and the intended target was believed to be British civilians," the BBC said.

    Osmium tetroxide, which is used mainly in research laboratories, can attack soft human tissue and could blind anyone who breathed in its fumes or cause them to choke to death.

    Chatter clue

    Security services are believed to have been alerted after a mention of osmium tetroxide was picked up by a British government electronic listening centre in Cheltenham, southwest England.

    Nine people were held in and around London.

    A half-ton of ammonium nitrate fertiliser, which can be used to make explosives, was seized.

    The UK, having invaded Iraq with the US, has been on heightened guard against possible "terror attacks".

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.