UK Terror Busts Thwarted Big Easter Attack: Cops

Investigators probing Pakistani extremists' links to al-Qaeda
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2009 7:03 AM CDT
Police officers gather outside a property in the Cheetham Hill area of Manchester, England, yesterday following anti-terror raids.   (AP Photo/Paul Thomas)
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(Newser) – Britain's arrest of a dozen terror suspects this week—nearly overshadowed by the public blunder and subsequent resignation of a top terror official—is believed to have foiled a major plot to bomb Easter shoppers, sources tell the Daily Telegraph. The suspects, mostly Pakistani nationals in the UK on student visas, received orders from al-Qaeda and had smuggled bomb-making equipment into the country, said investigators.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown described the plot as "very big," adding, "We know that there are links between terrorists in Britain and terrorists in Pakistan. That is an important issue for us to follow through and that's why I will be talking to President Zardari about what Pakistan can do to help us in the future." The nation's top anti-terror official resigned after being photographed carrying a secret file about the case in open view.