- The Washington Times - Monday, December 1, 2014

British intelligence officials have uncovered a plot by terrorists to blow up five European passenger jets during the Christmas holiday, security analysts said.

And law enforcement agents with the United Kingdom are taking the threat so seriously that they very nearly banned all carry-on luggage at the airports, the Sunday Express reported.

Officials may still ban mobile devices from aircraft, insiders said to the news outlet.

“We’ve been told that five planes are being targeted in a high profile hit before Christmas,” said one security official to the Sunday Express. “They’ve been waiting for the big one. We have many scares, but this one nearly got hand baggage pulled from all airlines. The threat is still alive and real.”

The plot was uncovered about two months ago. Analysts say the big concern is Islamists sneaking bombs on planes that are headed to major destinations around Europe — and that the scare is still being taken seriously.

“[It’s] almost inevitable” for a terror strike on the United Kingdom to soon occur, one British intel official said in the Sunday Express.

At the same time, intel agents are being stymied by political concerns.

“High level negotiations are continuing at governmental level but at the moment, there has been little done to respond,” said one source described by the Sunday Express as a high-ranking security insider. “There is paralysis because of the difficulty of banning hand luggage which is one of the strongest weapons we have against the new threats. … Everyone is expecting something catastrophic very soon.”

The source also said the threat was confined to the United Kingdom and did not include the United States.

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