Hate-filled mothers willing to sacrifice themselves and their babies are being hunted in the war on terror in Britain
Security sources confirmed last night that alleged “baby bombers” were among those arrested over the plot to massacre thousands by downing transatlantic flights.
Those being quizzed included a husband and wife with a six-month-old infant.
The discovery prompted fears that there were fanatical mothers in secret al-Qaeda cells in Britain ready to become suicide bombers — and to die with their tots in their arms.
And it emerged as the reason why women at airports were ordered to drink from their babies’ bottles before being allowed to board flights during last week’s massive alert.
One senior Government security adviser warned of a race against time to identify individuals who might pose a threat.
The adviser said: “It may be beyond belief, but we are convinced that there are now women in Britain who are prepared to die with their babies for their twisted cause. They are ruthless, single-minded and totally committed.”
The nightmare is that mums carrying tiny tots would provide “very good cover” and not raise suspicions among even the most alert security guards.
The threat was identified along with an additional warning that as many as two dozen terror cells may still be active in Britain.
The source added: “We believe all the known players involved in last week’s plot have been detained. Our biggest concern now is all the unknown players who may be out there.
“And that includes mothers who are ready and willing to see their little ones die. It is a race against time.” Women around the world have carried out suicide attacks in the past.
Two female Chechen terrorists blew themselves up on separate flights in Russia two years ago.
An intelligence source said: “Al-Qaeda specialises in attempting the unexpected. What could be more unexpected in Western eyes than women willing to die with their babies?”
MI5 chiefs are jubilant over cracking the plan to disguise bombs as soft drinks or baby bottles — but warned that other forms of transport are massively at risk from suicide attacks.
The Government source said: “There are dozens of other outrages being plotted on all forms of transport because they offer the highest potential body count.”
Yesterday it emerged that among those detained in last week’s raids is believed to be a key al-Qaeda figure.
A senior Government official said: “He is not al-Qaeda’s Mr Big in Britain but he is certainly a very important player.”
It is now almost certain that a dummy run for an attack had been planned by terrorists for a flight over the weekend.
“We now think that was on,” said the source.
Last night 23 people arrested in raids in London, Birmingham and High Wycombe, Bucks, remained in police custody.
Twenty-two can be detained until Wednesday and a decision on another individual has been adjourned until today.
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