A terrorist plot to blow up a US passenger jet timed to coincide with the Olympics has been uncovered by security agencies, according to intelligence sources. Al-Qaeda intended to use a radicalised Norwegian Islamic convert to attack US planes in the build-up to the London Games — which start in 26 days on July 27 — it is understood.
The plan centred on using the so-called ‘clean skin’ — a terrorist with no previous criminal record and are unlikely to raise suspicions among the security services — in order to evade airport security. “If you are blowing up aeroplanes you are likely to be killing Brits or having a big impact on the European or British economy. [So it] would in effect be an attack against Britain,” said a Whitehall official.
It is believed the suspect tasked with the attack uses the Islamic name Muslim Abu Abdurrahman, had converted to Islam in 2008, and was recruited in a terrorist training camp in Yemen, sources said. It is not thought to have been aimed specifically at the Olympics in London, but security forces protecting the Games said intelligence on any possible threat was constantly reviewed.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said, “We have planned against the four main areas of threat: terrorism, serious and organised crime, public disorder and natural hazards. We are working closely with Games organisers to deliver an end to end operation to ensure everyone is safe and secure. Alongside LOCOG’s in venue security operation, police will be present for the detection and prevention of crime.”
He added, “Our intelligence is kept under constant review. For operational reasons we do not discuss the exact detail of how we monitor any individual or group.” Terrorists from al-qaeda in the Arabian Peninsular (AQAP), based in Yemen, are understood to be behind this latest plot. The same group were revealed to have been behind at least four other attempted attacks in the last four years.
12-year-old youngest to bear torch
The Olympic Torch is continuing its tour of the country with the youngest person to carry the flame among the torchbearers. Dominic MacGowan (12), from Harborne, said he was proud to have carried the torch through Sparkbrook in Birmingham.
The youngster, who plays for West Bromwich Albion’s under 12s shadow squad, said he hoped to be an Olympic footballer one day. On the club’s website he said, “I can’t believe I’m the youngest torchbearer and would like to do it again, only as an Olympian.