Twelve men were arrested in pre-dawn raids across England after intelligence indicated they were in the advanced stages of a suspected Christmastime attack that was believed to target shoppers and tourists in shops, banks and other landmarks throughout London.
The 12 men were arrested in London, Cardiff, Birmingham and Stoke-on-Trent range from 17 to 28 years of age and are believed to be of UK residents of Bangladeshi origin. They were reportedly inspired in part by Yemeni-based preacher Anwar al-Awlaki.
According to UK investigators, the most recent London plot was unrelated to an earlier suicide bombing in Stockholm or a Yemeni-based plot using explosives concealed in printers and then shipped by airfreight.
The early morning raids came after months of surveillance by MI5. Intercepted communications indicated that the plotters were close to carrying out their attacks.