Terror attacks on Britain, France and Germany have been foiled by security services, averting what MI5 said could have been a disaster of Mumbai proportions.
Militants were planning commando-style raids on London and other European cities and although no arrests have been made, the terror threat level in Britain remains severe.
Intelligence sources revealed that militants based in Pakistan, thought to be linked to al Qaeda, were planning simultaneous terror strikes across Europe.
Plans for the terror attacks were said to be in an “advanced but not imminent stage” and the plotters had been tracked by spy agencies from all three countries and the US “for some time”.
A US military official told the Wall Street Journal: “There are some pretty notable threat streams” and that this was an unusually serious threat.
The terror plot may have been linked to yesterday’s evacuation of the Eiffel tower after a bomb scare. Last week, French authorities said that they had uncovered a suicide bombing plot to attack the Paris subway linked to al Qaeda’s North African affiliate.
Source of information
Today, it was alleged that a German citizen of Afghan descent was the source of much of the information on the potential terror attacks in Europe.
The man, Ahmed Sidiqi, was detained in Kabul in July and transferred to U.S. custody where he is said by an official to have “revealed details about the terror plot”.
Reportedly, Sidiqi and several other Germans travelled from Hamburg to the Afghan-Pakistan border area in 2009, where he joined the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, an extremist group allied with al Qaeda, German intelligence officials said.
Once captured, Sidiqi “started to talk a lot,” and detailed a “Mumbai-style” attack in Europe, the German official said.
Mumbai terror attacks
The terror attacks unearthed this week would have been similar to those which happened in Mumbai, MI5 sources said.
Mumbai was at the centre of a terror siege in November 2008 when gunmen carried out ten simultaneous attacks across the city including the Taj hotel, cafes, a train terminal and a Jewish centre.
The attacks were carried out by nine terrorists from the Pakistan-based Islamist group Lashkar-e-Taiba which has committed previous attacks in India. 166 people were killed.