Aug. 10, 2006 — -- ABC News has learned the details of an alleged terror plot to bring down at least nine commercial airliners, using liquids concealed in sports beverage drink bottles.
According to sources, the suspected plotters arrested in London today planned to use liquid or gel explosives, triggered with the flash from a disposable camera.
The plotters planned to leave the top of each bottle sealed and filled with the original beverage, but add a false bottom filled with the explosive. The volatile mixture would have been dyed to match the color of the beverage.
Sources say the suspects believed this would guarantee them safe passage through security, even if they were ordered to sip the beverage to prove it was harmless, sources said.
The flash in a disposable camera, the plotters apparently believed, would have enough power to trigger the homemade explosive.
Experts say there are a number of homemade or easily modified commercial explosives that could have enough power to damage or destroy a jetliner.
A law enforcement source outside the United States provided ABC News with the names of three arrested suspects, believed to be major players in the plot: Rashid Rauf, Mohamed Al-Ghadra and Ahmed Al-Khan.
One of the suspects arrested is a woman, the source said, and not everyone authorities believe would have aided in the attack would have been aboard the planes.
The suspects were allegedly planning to try a dry run within two days to ensure that they would be able to get the chemicals onboard, and the actual attack would have followed just days later, U.S. intelligence sources told The Associated Press.
Sources tell ABC News that at least two and possibly more of the suspected terrorists had prepared martyrdom videotapes as they finalized their plans.
ABC News' Richard Esposito, Terry Moran, Ned Potter, Jonathan Silverstein and Len Tepper contributed to this report.