Heathrow Airport on high alert over Al Qaeda terror threat: report

London:  UK's busiest airport Heathrow has been put on high terror alert after "credible" intelligence emerged that Al Qaeda is plotting attacks, including strike by women suicide bombers with explosives concealed in breast implants, a media report said today.

Security checks have been beefed up after intelligence reports surfaced that Al Qaeda is plotting attacks on airlines flying out of London, The Mirror reported.

"There are genuine fears over this. We have been told to pay particular attention to females who may have concealed hidden explosives in their breasts. This is particularly difficult for us to pick up but we are on a very high state of alert," an airport staff member was quoted by the daily as saying.

"It's led to long queues here at Heathrow, much longer than usual at this time of the year. But because it's the summer holiday season, no one has complained," the staff member said.

Al Qaeda's chief bomb-maker Ibrahim al-Asiri is understood to have developed the method of foiling airport scanners by concealing explosives in an implant or bodily cavity, the report said.

It is also feared there is no shortage of volunteers willing to take part in an atrocity after hundreds of extremists recently escaped from prison in Pakistan, it said.

"There is a great fear that Al Qaeda are planning on using internal devices to try and get through airport scanners. These explosives could be in breast implants,"

Explosives expert Andy Oppenheimer was quoted by the paper as saying.

Another specialist said breast implant bombs could be set off by injecting another liquid.

"Both are very difficult to pick up with current technology and they are petrified Al Qaeda are a step ahead here. It's pretty top secret and potentially very grisly and ghastly," the expert said.

Independent security analyst Paul Beaver said: "There are currently deeply serious concerns over body cavities and implants of all kinds, including breast implants, being used to hide explosives."

"It is taking longer to get through Heathrow and other airports in Europe and North America because of these fears. They are taking longer to screen people and there is definitely some sort of profiling going on," Beaver said.

"The general alert state remains the same in the UK but overseas, the recent Pakistan prison breakouts and foiled attacks in Yemen are raising fears of a new jihadist wave of violence," he said. A Heathrow Airport spokesman said: "We don't comment on specific security measures."
Story First Published: August 16, 2013 14:57 IST

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