British Authorities Search for More Suspects and Warn Attack Could Still Be Underway

Aug 10, 2006 8:25am

Scotland Yard officials do not believe they have captured all the members involved in today’s terror plot out of Heathrow Airport and are urgently searching for more suspects.  Authorities are concerned that those still at large may well have instructions to act now if the plot was disrupted, and they have not ruled out other cities and airports as possible targets of attacks. ABC News has been told that this is a well organized, "for real"  plot, not an informant’s suggestion.

The 21 suspects already in custody are almost all British citizens of Pakistani descent reflecting the growing influence of Pakistani members in al Qaeda.  The operation is eerily similar to an earlier al Qaeda plot uncovered in the Philippines in 1995, in which 12 airplanes were supposed to have been blown up midair at the same time.

The terrorists captured overnight in London were planning to use a liquid acid explosive that can either be clear or milky depending on the formula and could be mixed up in a bathtub. A container the size of a water bottle could be enough to blow a hole in an airplane and bring down a major passenger jet, which is why airport authorities are stopping passengers from carrying liquids onboard, in particular baby bottles.

Onboard explosions were successful in two previous terror attacks in August 2004 when two Russian airliners that crashed nearly simultaneously were believed to be brought down by explosives. In 1994, a Japanese passenger was killed when a bomb hidden under a seat exploded midair on a Philippine Airlines flight.

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