Jan 222010

BREAKING NEWS,,,, story developing 04.23 EST


LONDON (Reuters) – Britain raised its international terrorism threat level to ‘severe’ — its second highest level of terror alert — from ‘substantial’ on Friday, Home Secretary (interior minister) Alan Johnson said.

“The Joint Terrorism Analysis Center has today raised the threat to the UK from international terrorism from substantial to severe. This means that a terrorist attack is highly likely, but I should stress that there is no intelligence to suggest than an attack is imminent,” he said in a statement.

(Reporting by Jon Boyle and Tim Pearce; Editing by Peter Millership)

Security alert at Indian airports

Media reports said individuals linked to al-Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba were involved in the plot [EPA]

A security alert has been issued at India’s airports after intelligence services received information about a plot to hijack a plane.

The alleged plot involved an Air India or Indian Airlines flight bound for a neighbouring country, officials said on Friday.

U K Bansal, an interior ministry official, said: “We have alerted our civil aviation security people against a possible attempt to hijack an Indian airlines flight.”

“This would obviously be from terrorist groups who are arraigned against Indian interests.”

An aviation spokesperson confirmed a report in The Indian Express newspaper which said intelligence officials had uncovered a plot by individuals linked to al-Qaeda and the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba group to hijack an Air India or Indian Airlines flight.

Air marshals

Al Jazeera’s Prerna Suri, reporting from the capital, New Delhi, said air marshals had been deployed at certain flights in the South Asia region and a number of other security measures had been taken.

“Air security has been heightened across the country and passengers are being subjected to extra security checks until the end of the month.

“The authorities are looking into this intelligence alert very seriously indeed.”

Indian media said the hijack threat was uncovered during the interrogation of Amjad Khwaja, belonging to Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, a group involved in numerous attacks in India.

Khwaja was arrested in the southern Indian city of Chennai last week and was being questioned by Indian police.

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