The jihadist attacks were being planned in the week after the Paris massacre, but the two foreign pilots, one of whom was flying for an airline on an intelligence service watchlist, were intercepted talking about the plot.
Although they used coded messages from the cockpits of their passenger jets, the Arabic transcripts were passed to GCHQ where spies established they were talking about attacks on London, Bath, Brighton and Ipswich.
|Aerial view of London Google Maps|
The uncovering of the plan raised the terror alert in the UK and was one factor which led to Operation Templer, involving 10,000 soldiers being deployed to support police on Britain’s streets.
The pilots, who were unknown to the authorities but believed to be sympathetic to Islamic State, were using the emergency “Mayday” channel in the belief they were not being monitored.
|Clockwise: London, Bath, Ipswich and Brighton|
They coded their language with musical references, often referring to “hits”. The conversation included boasts that a song would “climb up the charts” – a veiled reference to increases in jihadi recruits once the attacks had been launched.
It is thought the pilots were preparing to smuggle in explosive devices or chemical weapons. The messages were intercepted as they flew from a European airport, thought to be Schiphol, in Amsterdan, to Middle Eastern destinations.Read the rest of the story HERE.
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