A terrorist plot to blow up a number of planes flying from the UK to the US has been foiled according to UK police, but there is massive disruption expected today at all UK airports.
Security at all airports in the UK has been tightened and passengers will not be allowed to carry any hand luggage on to flights. The measures are likely to be in force for the whole of today and possibly the next few days, causing huge delays.
Currently all short-haul inbound flights to Heathrow airport have been cancelled. Some flights in and out of Gatwick have been suspended.
According to the BBC, Heathrow is crammed with thousands of passengers, and at Stansted more than 2,000 people are queuing to pass through customs.
German carrier Lufthansa has cancelled flights to Heathrow and the Spanish airline Iberia has stopped UK flights.
It is believed that three US Airlines had been targeted with a plan to detonate explosive devices smuggled in hand luggage on to as many as 10 aircraft.
Police in the UK have arrested 21 people thought to be involved in the plot.
The BBC website quotes Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Paul Stephenson saying that the alleged plotters had intended “mass murder on an unimaginable scale”.
“We are confident that we have disrupted a plan by terrorists to cause untold death and destruction and to commit, quite frankly, mass murder,” he said.
“We believe that the terrorists’ aim was to smuggle explosives on to aeroplanes in hand luggage and to detonate these in flight. We also believe that the intended targets were flights from the United Kingdom to the United States of America.
“I can confirm that a significant number of people are currently in custody and the operation is ongoing.”