The Blotter follows up on yesterday’s scare post.

ABC News has learned that al Qaeda operatives in the greater London area are being encouraged to “strike during the Christian holidays,” according to intelligence and law enforcement sources…

ABC News sources in North America and the U.K. say that British authorities are constantly on the run, breaking up plots on a near weekly basis that have reached the pre-operational phase.

Sources in Britain add that at least one “pivotal…al Qaeda U.K.” operative has been detained during the past two weeks, and others may — at least temporarily — be in custody.

Pivotal? One of the “English brothers,” hopefully? That would be a huge score.

More good news: the major terror cells in the country appear to be all linked up.

New Scotland Yard and the British domestic security service MI5 have put together physical evidence and a pattern of interlocking relationships between alleged terrorists that appear to establish a firm link among the subway and bus bombs that killed 52 Londoners on July 7, 2005, a failed set of bombings on July 21, 2005 and a plot to blow up between six and nine airliners, killing as many as 5,000 persons headed to the United States this summer, all the result of three years of planning by British al Qaeda.

Each cell appears to have had ties back to the same British citizen who controlled the plotters from Pakistan and whose identity was first reported by the ABC News Investigative Unit, sources said. That link plus forensic evidence and evidence of overlapping knowledge and personnel in each of the plots is more terrifying to authorities than the prior theory of independent cells operating without knowledge of each others’ plans, sources said.

Intelligence sources also say it points to an organized group of cells working to cause carnage and damage to Britain’s economy, apparently in an effort to wear down the public will to fight along side the United States in the War on Terror.

I think the British citizen they’re referring to is Rashid Rauf. He’s the alleged ringleader of the airplane plot who may or may not be on his way back to Britain as part of an extradition deal with Pakistan.

Actually, the fact that the cells are linked is good news in one sense, isn’t it? If you unravel one it’ll eventually lead you to the others. Of course, it also means they’re sharing institutional knowledge that’ll make their plots more effective and harder to detect.

The next ten days are shaping to be a crucible for MI5 and British police. If you’re inclined to pray, pray for them.