The 176-page report on counter-terrorism efforts in the United Kingdom released Tuesday following six years of secrecy provides a chilling chronology of declassified al-Qaida attacks in the United Kingdom.
September 2001 – British authorities arrest two men acting in support of an al-Qaida attack on U.S. military targets in Belgium and France.
December 2001 – British national Richard Reid, the “shoe bomber,” is arrested for trying to destroy a U.S. aircraft over the Atlantic using explosives hidden in his shoe. An associate was later arrested in the U.K.
Late 2002 – Al-Qaida abandons a “major set piece attack” planned against Heathrow airport.
January 2003 – Security forces disrupt an effort by an Algerian terrorist cell operating in London to make poisons.
April 2003 – A British national with an extremist background kills three people in a Tel Aviv suicide attack.
March 2004 – Counter-terrorism authorities stop a major attack planned on major targets in and around London by British nationals who received paramilitary training in Pakistan. Conspirators considered building and detonating a “dirty” or radiological bomb in London.
August 2004 – An attack led by “an experienced al-Qaida operative” is disrupted. Conspirators considered building and detonating a “dirty” or radiological bomb in London.
July 7, 2005 – Sometimes referred to as England’s 9/11, a series of coordinated attacks on London’s transportation system kills 52 people. Two weeks later, another attack is foiled. In both cases, the terrorists were British citizens trained in Pakistan.
Late 2005 – police and Security Service personnel stop an attempt by a London-based terror cell to buy large quantities of guns and rocket-propelled grenades. The intended use of the weapons was never established.
October 2005 – Police arrest a Moroccan-born man in London. He had set up Web sites to recruit suicide bombers. In July 2007, the man pleads guilty to inciting terrorism via the Internet.
August 2006 – A suspect is arrested at Manchester airport. He is later convicted of terror-related charges.
September 2006 – Seven men are jailed for recruiting and training young men to commit acts of terror.
February 2007 – Counter-terror forces stop a plot to kidnap and decapitate a Muslim British soldier.
June 2007 – A man tries to drive a burning car into the Glasgow airport terminal. British authorities raise the threat level to “critical.” The attack comes just days after authorities discover two bomb-laden vehicles in London. The bombs, which were packed in nails, were wired to a cell phone for remote detonation, but the triggering mechanism failed.
September 2007 – Another suspect is arrested at Manchester airport, and is later convicted of terror-related charges. At least one perpetrator had links to al-Qaida in Iraq.
May 2008 – A bomber tries to detonate an improvised explosive device in an Exeter restaurant. He burns himself in the attempt and is later sentenced to life in prison.
In all, British authorities say they have convicted nearly 200 persons of terror-related offenses since 9/11. As of March 2008, over 120 people were imprisoned in the U.K. for terror-related offenses, with many more awaiting trial, according to the report.
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