Counterterrorism officials believe an alleged al-Qaeda terror plot against the UK, designed to cause mass casualties, was due to be carried out over Easter. The police raided fifteen locations in the Northwest of England on Wednesday, April 8, arresting 12 suspects of whom 11 are Pakistani nationals. They are believed to be part of a Pakistan-based and trained al-Qaeda cell.
The arrests took place in the afternoon, being rushed forward after a security blunder. Senior police and top counterterrorist officer Bob Quick had exposed a secret document on the ‘Operation Pathway’ to photographers on his way to a 10 Downing street meeting. The operation was then carried out within hours in the daytime and Quick resigned from his post.
It is probable that the Pakistani nationals will now be deported to Pakistan, if the alleged accusations are proved. Their families back home expressed shock and anger and denied any connection of their sons to al-Qaeda. The incident reveals the tense situation in British home affairs. Most probably, a major terrorist plot has probably been foiled; at the same time, the daytime operation endangered other residents, and solid evidence for the alleged plot must now be made public.