European intelligence services have intercepted a terrorist plot to strike London and cities in France and Germany in imitation of the Mumbai attack of 2008. Pakistani militants are reported to have been tracked by spy agencies “for some time” in preparation of a similar assault.
Sky News reported on Wednesday that plans to attack different European cities simultaneously in commando style raids have been “severely disrupted” thanks to intelligence sharing between European and American agencies.
The attacks in Mumbai, India occurred in November 2008. Pakistani terrorists at the time coordinated shootings and bombings across the city, killing at least 173 people and wounding more than three hundred.
The news of the planned attacks coincided with the second evacuation of the Eiffel Tower in Paris in one week. Sky News’ foreign affairs editor Tim Marshall noted that the tower wasn’t necessarily a target, “but it shows how nervous the French are,” he added.
In September, the United States have been undertaking more drone attacks against Pakistan than during any previous month. Twenty missiles strikes against suspected terrorist targets in the country’s northwestern tribal area of Waziristan have been recorded. According to Marshall, “a number of these attacks were designed against the leadership of this particular plot, which had an Al Qaeda and possibly some sort of Taliban connection projecting into Europe.”
Several of the plot’s organizers are reported to have been killed in these drone attacks which is why, in the United Kingdom, the terror threat hasn’t risen from “severe” to “imminent”.
A British government official anonymously told the Associated Press that the plot was “in its embryonic stages” and “still active” on Wednesday. According to CNN, the conspiracy came to light after a man captured in Afghanistan tipped off investigators to a potential “Mumbai style” plot in Europe. Financial institutions, including banks and stock exchanges, could be possible targets, said one American federal law enforcement source.
Despite concern over a potential terror plot, American and German officials maintain that they have found no evidence of an imminent attack in either Europe or the United States.