Police foil Al-Qaeda plot to blow up UK Internet
Police have uncovered a plot to blow up the UK’s Internet hub in London, according to reports from the Sunday Times. If successful, the suspected Al-Qaeda plot could have knocked out most of Britain’s Internet services.
The newspaper reported that the Metropolitan Police discovered computer files indicating that terrorist suspects had been planning to infiltrate Telehouse in London’s Docklands with the aim of blowing it up from the inside.
Most of the internet traffic for the UK passes through the Docklands facility. The files were found by police after raids on house in the south of England.
The suspects were arrested by the police and a senior Whitehall official told the newspaper that the Telehouse facility was the subject of intense reconnaissance. “The evidence suggests that it was one of a range of options considered by the suspects,” the official said.
Following the discovery of the plot, the head of MI5 Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller set up a special MI5 unit called the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure to help protect critical national infrastructure from terrorist attack.
‘Without these services, the UK could suffer serious consequences, including severe economic damage, grave social disruption, or even large scale loss of life,’ the organisation said on its website. The unit was set up last month, merging the National Infrastructure Security Co-ordination Centre (NISCC) and a part of MI5 called the National Security Advice Centre (NSAC).
Staff at Telehouse declined to comment on the specific threat but Robert Harris, Telehouse’s technical services director told the newspaper that the company ‘remains as alert as possible to any threat, terrorist or otherwise, and we are in regular communication with the appropriate authorities.’