Police unveiled a major kidnapping plot, the first of its kind in Britain, arresting nine terror suspects reportedly planning to torture and behead a British Muslim soldier and broadcast the killing on the Internet.
The alleged plot, said by British media to mirror the brutal killings of foreign hostages in Iraq, was in its final stages and uncovered during a six-month surveillance operation by anti-terror officers, police said Wednesday.
"The threat from terrorism remains very real," said Assistant Chief Constable David Shaw, who would not confirm reports from the British Broadcasting Corp. and other media that the intended victim was an army soldier to be killed in an "Iraqi-style" execution and broadcast on the Internet.
Britain has been at the heart of several thwarted terror plots. One involved a British Muslim who pleaded guilty to plotting to blow up landmarks including the New York Stock Exchange. Last August, police foiled an alleged plan by Muslim extremists to use liquid explosives to blow up as many as 10 flights between the United States and Britain.