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    Al Qaeda plot to blast London foiled

    By Justin Davenport and Hugh Dougherty

    March 30 -- An al Qaeda plot to blast London was dramatically foiled by police today.

    Seven hundred police swooped in a series of 6 a.m. raids in the capital and the Home Counties. They found half a tonne of fertiliser explosives - enough for a series of terror "spectaculars".

    The terrorist suspects arrested by police are believed to have chosen "soft targets" for bombings including pubs and clubs. One of the suspects being held had a job at Gatwick Airport, immediately raising concerns over airlines and passengers.

    A total of eight men - all of them British citizens of Pakistani descent, three of them teenagers - were arrested in the operation, with police from five forces searching a total of 24 addresses across London and the South-East.

    The ammonium nitrate explosives were discovered in a self-storage warehouse in Hanwell, west London and have now been made safe. They are the same explosives that al Qaeda used in attacks in Bali, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.