14/08/2006

Government lowers terror threat level

The terror threat level to the UK has been downgraded from critical to severe, the Home Office has announced.

The change means that the chance of a terror attack occurring in the UK is still regarded as "highly likely", but not "imminent".

The threat level was raised following the uncovering of an alleged plot to bomb transatlantic flights last week. Thousands of passengers faced cancellations and delays at airports across the UK because of the threat.

A number of people were arrested in connection with the plot - police are continuing to question 23 people in connection with the investigation.

It has also been reported that police searches are continuing at King's Wood, near High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, where one of the raids was conducted last week.

The downgrading of the terror threat means that restrictions on hand luggage on flights from the UK, which have been in place since Thursday, has been lifted.

However, according to reports, hand luggage restrictions will remain in place at some airports, including Heathrow and Gatwick, until Tuesday.

Some restrictions will remain, including a ban on any form of liquids, lotions or gels in carry-on luggage.

However, on Sunday night, a British Airways flight from Heathrow to New York was forced to turn back after a mobile phone was found on board the flight.

Home Secretary John Reid said that he believed that the main suspects in the alleged bomb plot had been arrested, but warned that the threat of a terror attack in the UK still remained. He said: "The public needs to know that there may be other people out there who may be planning an attack against the UK. The change in the threat level does not mean that the threat has gone away."

(KMcA)

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