Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

The Jehoshua Novels


Heathrow anti-terror plans found in road

Heathrow anti-terror plans “found in road”
London |  July 18, 2004  

Reuters – Police have launched an inquiry into how a secret police dossier went missing that according to a newspaper report contained counter-terrorist plans for Heathrow airport.
The dossier, found lying in a road, showed 62 sites at the airport where al Qaeda was most likely to launch anti-aircraft missile strikes, the Sun said in its Monday edition.

Heathrow anti-terror plans “found in road”
Sun July 18, 2004 08:43 PM ET

LONDON (Reuters) – Police have launched an inquiry into how a secret police dossier went missing that according to a newspaper report contained counter-terrorist plans for Heathrow airport.
The dossier, found lying in a road, showed 62 sites at the airport where al Qaeda was most likely to launch anti-aircraft missile strikes, the Sun said in its Monday edition.

The Sun said the dossier included facts about surveillance, escape routes, evacuation plans and deployment of rooftop snipers at the world’s busiest international hub.

The plans, which have since been returned to police, were found by a motorist, the newspaper said.

A Scotland Yard spokeswoman could give no details about what the dossier contained or where it was found, but confirmed it had been returned to the Metropolitan Police.

“We treat any breach of security extremely seriously,” the spokeswoman said.

“We have launched an internal inquiry into the circumstances of how these documents went missing and will take the appropriate action when we have ascertained the facts surrounding this matter,” the spokeswoman said.

She could not confirm whether the dossier was compiled by the SO18 anti-terrorist Aviation Security team, which is based at Heathrow police station.

According to The Sun, the papers contained detailed maps and photographs, including aerial and satellite shots.

In one section, the dossier identified a field close to the airport as being ideal for a terrorist attack. “This site affords an excellent site to attack aircraft departing Heathrow,” the Sun quoted from the dossier, saying it included aerial and satellite photographs of the site.

Dated June 26 2004, the dossier gave surveillance and assessment information valid until December, the newspaper said.

Ten years ago, the IRA targeted Heathrow airport with rocket attacks. None of the missiles packed with Semtex plastic explosive detonated.

Security chiefs sent tanks into Heathrow last year after intelligence pointed to a threatened missile attack.

This year, flights to the U.S. have been cancelled amid fears of an al Qaeda attack.

1 comment to Heathrow anti-terror plans found in road

  • Anonymous

    The Suns’s article:http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2004331049,00.html

    Guardian
    Police investigate loss of Heathrow terror dossier

    Staff and agencies
    Monday July 19, 2004

    Police have begun an internal inquiry into how a confidential dossier detailing the terrorist threat to Heathrow airport was discovered on a nearby roadside, it was announced today.
    The document – recovered by a motorist who had stopped at a petrol station – was reported to list 62 potential sites from which a surface-to air missile attack on an aircraft could take place, as well as detailing the movements of police patrols.

    It was supplied to the Sun newspaper, which today said it had returned it to police. The newspaper said the document had been drafted last month, and set out ways in which the airport could be protected from attack over the next six months.

    One section, which was reprinted in today’s Sun, identified a nearby field as an ideal location from which to carry out a shoulder-launched rocket strike on two runways.

    “This site affords an excellent site to attack aircraft departing Heathrow. The firing point is just over the fence into the field,” the document said. “This is a very large site with little cover. The only way to patrol this area is on foot. Consider dogs and the air support unit.”

    The home secretary, David Blunkett, told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme: “The plans were obviously very good. Somebody disposing of them in a way that allowed that to happen is very bad.”

    A Scotland Yard spokeswoman would not confirm the contents of the dossier, but said its loss was being taken seriously.

    “We have launched an internal inquiry into the circumstances of how these documents went missing, and will take the appropriate action when we have ascertained the facts surrounding the matter,” a statement said.

     Heathrow has been the centre of both real and feared terrorist activity in the last decade. The IRA fired a mortar at the roof of terminal four in 1994, and 450 troops were deployed at the airport last February following warnings of a missile strike.

    Earlier this year, British Airways flights to the US were grounded on the advice of US counter-terrorism officials.

    Hazel Blears, the minister for counter-terrorism, today said attacks were not inevitable but advised people to stock up on tinned food, water and any regular medication they needed.

    She told the Daily Telegraph the government was looking at ways in which to educate the public about terrorist attacks, and said it would probably use leaflets or websites.

    The news follows the largest similar terrorist attack in Britain, which yesterday took place at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham.

    More than 2,000 firefighters, police, ambulance crews and army volunteers participated in a “chemical gas attack” designed to test the country’s preparedness for a major terror strike.

    The emergency call came at 9.30am and, while emergency crews understood the exercise, they knew nothing of the details of the attack.

    The first police officer at the scene described a poison gas attack at an art gallery, but the scale was unspecific and those involved were unsure of the number of casualties or fatalities.

    Fire crews from the West Midlands, Herefordshire, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire were in the area within 12 minutes, and arrived to see 400 visitors to the art exhibition – in reality, volunteers from the army – rushing from a building, choking, retching and collapsing.

    However, many were still waiting to enter decontamination units more than four hours after the simulated attack began.

    Frank Sheehan, the chief fire officer for the West Midlands, said the delay was something those involved in the exercise would focus on during the debriefing.

    Phil Causer, the chief coordinator for West Midlands fire service, who is working with the Home Office on the UK’s response to the threat of terrorism, said the exercise showed the need for rapid response units.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/terrorism/story/0,12780,1264408,00.html

Leave a Reply