The suspects are of Afghan, Pakistani, Somali and Turkish origin and range in age from 19 to 29. Sharf said they were “producing an unstable explosive in a densely populated area” and that authorities had waited until they had gathered enough evidence before moving forward with the detentions.
This was a fairly large police operation; 11 locations raided and the police are still seeking suspects. The Danish police say that the arrests of the 8 so far thwarted an ongoing terror plot:
Danish police on Tuesday say they have foiled a possible terror attack on the nation’s capital Copenhagen. Members of Denmark’s intelligence agency PET took into custody eight Islamic militants believed to have links to the terrorist group al-Qaida. The arrests were made in separate raids at 2 a.m. following an extended surveillance operation.
According to PET head Jakob Sharf, six of the suspects are Danish citizens and two are foreigners. “With the arrests, we have prevented a terror attack,” Sharf told reporters. “Those arrested are militant Islamists with a connection to a leading al-Qaida person.”
Update (AP): It’s unrelated to the Mohammed cartoons and to the Danish troop presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, say Danish cops. How they’re so sure of that just yet is unclear. Keep your eye on this one, though: the alleged connection to a “leading Al Qaeda person,” the ethnic diversity of the suspects, and the proximity to the anniversary of 9/11 suggest this may be bigger than just Denmark. Remember, the NCTC chief says something is definitely in the works and there may be a European connection. Wouldn’t surprise me if there’s another big bust somewhere in the next day or two.