What was the alleged plot ?
US intelligence officials believe the plotters hoped to stage a practice run followed by actual attacks using liquid peroxide explosives on up to 10 planes from American, United and Continental Airlines within days on flights to the United States.
MI5 had built up a detailed picture of the plot over several months, but the threat had dramatically increased; the plotters had acquired the capability to carry out the attacks, perhaps within days. There was even a looming date, August 22, a holy day in the Muslim calendar and a propitious one for launching Armageddon. (source)
The ABC television network named three of those arrested as Rashid Rauf, Mohammed al-Ghandra and Ahmed al Khan. The three were the ringleaders of the plot, the network said.
One version of the planned attacks suggests that an explosive gel was to have been concealed inside a sports drink container. The electric pulse required to detonate the peroxide-based substance was to have been provided from the flash unit of a disposable camera. (Source)
Sources in the U.K. have informed The Jawa Report that suspects in today's terror arrests are linked to Syrian born exiled cleric Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed. (Source)
Locations of arrests
Police outside the property in Forest Road on Thursday morning
Walthamstow: (Witnesses) (2)
386 Forest Road, (Witnesses) (Suspects: 2 african looking men)
Folkestone Road, (Witnesses) (2) Suspect: Oliver 'Ibrahim' Savant, Iranian father
two in Albert Road
No 41, Micklefield Road, High Wycombe, where two men are understood to have been arrested. Neighbours spoke of comings and goings in the night
High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire:
-Walton Drive, (Witnesses) (Suspects: 2 unnamed brothers)
-Plomer Green Avenue
-41 Micklefield Road (Witnesses) (Suspect: Khuram Ali)
-Hepplewhite Close (Suspect: Don Stewart-Whyte aka Abdul Wahid) (Witnesses)
Threat to High Wycombe no bigger than normal, say police
Police raided a property in Belchers Lane, Birmingham
-Belchers Lane, Bordesley Green (Witnesses), owner: Tayib Zaman Rauf, Suspects: 2 Asian-looking men
-St Margarets Road, Ward End (Witnesses) (Suspects: Maroof Rauf, 19, and his 22-year-old brother, Abdul)
Background of suspects
Sources told the BBC the "principal characters" suspected of being involved in the plot were British-born, and some have links to Pakistan.
When did intelligence services find out about this plot ?
A Pakistani intelligence official said an Islamic militant arrested near the Afghan-Pakistan border several weeks ago provided a lead that played a role in "unearthing the plot." The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
How many people were arrested ?
Total: 24 people arrested
London: 'Majority' of arrests - exact locations not known
Birmingham: Two arrests
High Wycombe: At least one arrest
Are there still suspects on the loose ?
BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner said while the main suspects are reported to have been arrested, it was likely that other individuals will also be sought for questioning by police.
"What I'm being told is that they've got all the major players who they believe were involved in this plot, the A-team as it were.
"There are other people on the periphery who they would probably like to try and get hold of and question. They may not actually find any evidence on them.
"But given the slip-ups that were made over [7 July bomber] Mohammed Siddique Khan a few years ago, that's quite an important thing.
"He was on the periphery of another investigation and they let him go.
"It's perfectly possible that there are some people connected to this who are more dangerous than our own security and intelligence services actually believe they are at the moment."
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Police and ministers' statements