The British authorities have charged nine of the dozen suspected terrorists arrested on December 20 for allegedly planning to carry out terrorist attacks around Christmas, various press outlets reported. BBCNews reported that the evidence against the suspects includes a list of potential targets, some of which had been surveilled.
According to The Telegraph, the addresses of six targets were found by the police, including the office of London’s mayor, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the London Eye and the Church of Scientology. Other press reports said that the U.S. embassy and the London Stock Exchange were also targeted. The addresses of two rabbis and the Dean of St. Paul’s Chapter House were also found.
Additional evidence of potential ties to Al-Qaeda was also disclosed. The authorities found equipment for creating pipe bombs and two issues of an Al-Qaeda magazine published in Yemen.
Earlier British press reports indicated that the suspects were planning attacks on “soft” targets like shopping malls, nightclubs and banks. At least some of those arrested are said to be of Bangladeshi background and had visited Pakistan.
The arrests indirectly resulted in an embarrassment for the Director of National Intelligence in the U.S., James Clapper. During an interview on ABC News with other top counter-terrorism officials, Clapper was asked about the arrests and was unaware of them. The Obama Administration says he was not briefed immediately because the arrests were not related to a threat against the U.S. homeland.