Eight Nine arrested in alleged UK plot to kidnap, behead British Muslim soldier; Update: "Days away"

Sky News has more than a dozen video clips online about the plot and arrests. Drudge links to their top story, but it’s the Sun that has the most sensational (but unsurprising) detail:

EVIL Muslim terrorists were to kidnap a British soldier on UK streets and force him to plead with Tony Blair for his life in return for a pull-out of troops from Iraq, The Sun can reveal.

The soldier would have been filmed begging the PM to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan in a sick propaganda stunt.

Army sources said the target was a British Muslim soldier in his 20s.

He would eventually be beheaded on film in a sick mirror of the torture and savage killing of British hostage Ken Bigley if Mr Blair refused.

Senior security sources say the plot would have put the most unbearable blackmail pressure on the Premier to act…

The fact that the arrests were made in Birmingham could suggest that soldiers recovering from wounds in military hospitals there might have been targeted.

But sources say they cannot be sure of this – and are also investigating leads that a serviceman could have been picked up by the kidnappers anywhere on the mainland.

Londonistan gets all the headlines, but Birmingham — and the military hospitals in Birmingham — have been mentioned around here before. Remember?

Sky says the suspects had been under surveillance for six months; according to ITN, they were in the “later stages of planning.” It’s not just the suspects’ homes that were raided, either. The Maktabah bookstore, which trades in titles like “Heroes Of Islam, Muslim Heroes Of The World and A Day With The Prophet,” was also targeted.

There’s a police presser at 10 a.m. ET. You can watch it on Sky News’s live feed; we’ll try to get our UK contact kasper to clip the best part. In the meantime, your quote of the day:

Shabir Hussain, chairman of the nearby Ludlow Road Mosque, said such raids were causing anxiety within the community.

He said: “People don’t trust their own children any more. It’s causing difficulties inside families.

“You feel like you should challenge your son or daughter: ‘Where are you going at night? What are you watching on TV? What are you doing on the internet?’


Update: Hmmm. This video clip at Sky says the victim wasn’t going to be asked to make any pleas or statements before the beheading.

Update: Was this a freelance operation? Maybe not.

A plot to kidnap and behead a British soldier on videotape was only “days away” and led to the arrests today of eight men in Birmingham, England, a Scotland Yard source tells ABC News…

A British intelligence source tells ABC News that a British soldier had already been selected as the victim, based on instructions the men allegedly received by e-mail from “outside the country.”

Update: The press conference is on now. They’ve arrested a ninth suspect.

Update: Wouldn’t you know it? Turns out that bookstore is notorious for selling jihadi literature.

An Islamic bookstore in Birmingham, which was today cordoned off by police in a massive anti-terrorism raid, was exposed by The Times just days after the July 7 bombings as selling ‘incendiary works’ glorifying suicide bombing and anti-Semitism…

The store was also revealed to sell a DVD, 21st Century CrUSAders, which shows injured and dead children in Iraq and the Palestinian territories, describes Britain as a “police state” and distorts Tony Blair’s face into that of Satan.

Footage of the 9/11 attacks is shown, with a poem that says: “Suddenly their storms arise to demolish their fortresses and proclaim to them we shall not stop our raids until you abandon our lands.”…

But in the July 23 Times article, the Maktabah shop owner, who declined to be named, said: “The books you have highlighted are easily available at 90 per cent of Islamic bookshops around the country…”

Update: Rusty’s heard of the Maktabah bookstore, too, and says they’ve been known to carry “exclusive” video of Osama Bin Laden.