British authorities are charging nine men arrested on December 20th with preparing to carry out a "Mumbai-style" terror attack against targets in London. The BBC reports that potential targets included the London Stock Exchange, the U.S. Embassy, and "religious and political figures."
"I have today advised the police that nine men should be charged with conspiracy to cause explosions and with engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism with the intention of either committing acts of terrorism, or assisting another to commit such acts," said Sue Hemming, head of the Crown Prosecution Service Counter Terrorism Division.
The men are being charged under Britain's Terrorism Act 2006 for engaging in preparations for attacks between October 1 and December 20. They are alleged to have scouted potential targets, downloaded and researched terrorism-related materials and tested explosives. Five of the defendants face a third charge of possessing documents and records containing information likely to be of use to terrorists.
The plotters, mainly of Pakistani origin but also including some Bangladeshis, lived throughout the United Kingdom. Gurukanth Desai, Omar Sharif Latif, and Abdul Malik Miah were arrested in the Welsh capital of Cardif, while Nazam Hussain, Usman Khan, Mohibur Rahman, and Abul Bosher Mohammed Shahjahan came from the English town Stoke-on-Trent. Two other suspects, Mohammed Moksudur Rahman Chowdhury and Shah Mohammed Lutfar Rahman, were from London.
"Last week's raids are said to have come after several months of surveillance and monitoring by police and MI5 officers," the Guardian reported. The operation was the most high-profile anti-terror raid in Britain since April 2009, when 12 men were detained across northern England, but were later released without charge. It also follows allegations that Sweden's first suicide bomber, Taimour Abdulwahab Abdaly, was radicalized while living and studying in the British town of Luton.