The U.S. and U.K. governments raised security levels on Thursday following 21 arrests of suspected terrorists planning to blow up flights leaving from British airports using liquid explosives disguised as beverages.
The U.K. government raised the country's security status to "critical," the nation's highest level, and banned almost all carry-on luggage from flights. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security raised the threat level for the aviation sector to "severe," that nation's highest level, and banned liquids and gels--such as hair gel and lotions--from flights.
"We believe that the arrests in Britain have significantly disrupted this threat," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said in a statement. "We cannot assume, however, that it has been completely thwarted, or that we have fully identified and neutralized all members of this terrorist network. While there is currently no indication of any plotting within the United States, the federal government is taking immediate steps to increase security measures in the aviation sector."
A member of the British Parliment characterized the 21 suspects as "British Muslims," according to the New York Times.
The DHS is also looking for 11 Egyptian men who entered the country on student visas and then failed to show up at the University of Montana, where they were supposed to attend classes. The men are not know to be affiliated with any known terrorist groups and, as of Wednesday, three had been taken into custody, according to a CNN report.
Posted by: Robert Lemos