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MI5 FOIL MISSILE BLITZ ON HOLS JET; Terrorist suspect is arrested near M25.

Byline: By JEFF EDWARDS Chief Crime Correspondent

A SUSPECTED terrorist was arrested yesterday as he tried to buy a missile to shoot down a holiday jet.

The Asian-born man, 28, was also thought to be seeking explosives for a Christmas bomb blitz in London. He was held at gunpoint by police and MI5 agents near the M25 in Hertfordshire. A source at Scotland Yard said: "We think he was buying the missile in a bid to bring down a trans-Atlantic airliner on landing or departure at a major British airport.

"We believe the man was also in negotiations to purchase a large quantity of explosives and guns in preparation for a bomb blitz and terrorist shootings in London.

"We believe the planned attacks were to be carried out by Islamic fundamentalists following the ideals of the al-Qaeda movement."

The man, from East London, was held by Scotland Yard's Anti-Terrorist Branch and MI5 as he got out of his car close to the South Mimms services, on the M25 north of London.

Police believe he went to the spot to meet others with whom he had allegedly been attempting to negotiate to buy a surface-to-air missile, a stock of high explosives, detonators and army-issue assault rifles.

After being held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, the man was driven in an unmarked police car to the maximum-security Paddington Green police station in West London. No explosives were found in the man's car but teams of detectives later searched two houses in Plaistow and Walthamstow, both in East London.

A spokesman at Scotland Yard, which has been investigating a plot for three months, said: "At about 11.30 a.m. armed police challenged a man who was leaving a parked car on a minor road near the M25 services at South Mimms.

"The man has been arrested in connection with an ongoing inquiry into the attempted procurement of weapons linked to international terrorism.

"Search warrants have also been executed. No explosives or hazardous materials have been found."


THREAT: Missile could down airliner
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 30, 2005
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