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Britain is facing a new Al Qaeda terror threat from suicide ‘body bombers’ with explosives surgically inserted inside them.
Until now, terrorists have attacked airlines, Underground trains and buses by secreting bombs in bags, shoes or underwear to avoid detection.
But an operation by MI5 has uncovered evidence that Al Qaeda is planning a new stage in its terror campaign by inserting ‘surgical bombs’ inside people for the first time.
Security services believe the move has been prompted by the recent introduction at airports of body scanners, which are designed to catch terrorists before they board flights.
It is understood MI5 became aware of the threat after observing increasingly vocal internet ‘chatter’ on Arab websites this year.
The warning comes in the wake of the failed attempt by London-educated Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to blow up an airliner approaching Detroit on Christmas Day.
One security source said: ‘If the terrorists are talking about this, we need to be ready and do all we can to counter the threat.’
A leading source added that male bombers would have the explosive secreted near their appendix or in their buttocks, while females would have the material placed inside their breasts in the same way as figure-enhancing implants.
Experts said the explosive PETN (Pentaerythritol Tetranitrate) would be placed in a plastic sachet inside the bomber’s body before the wound was stitched up like a normal operation incision and allowed to heal.
Failed attempt: Abdulmutallab tried to detonate a bomb sewn into his pants
A shaped charge of 8oz of PETN can penetrate five inches of armour and would easily blow a large hole in an airliner.
Security sources said the explosives would be detonated by the bomber using a hypodermic syringe to inject TATP (Triacetone Triperoxide) through their skin into the explosives sachet.