Nine men were charged and taken custody on Monday in the UK for conspiring to bomb the US Embassy and the London Stock Exchange [official websites]. The charges come after [AP report] British authorities had apprehended 12 men on December 21 as part of raids to capture suspected terrorists. Four of the men charged are from Stoke-on-Trent, three are from Cardiff, and two more are from London. Three were released uncharged. The men are being charged [BBC report] with conspiring to cause an explosion and for engaging in conduct in preparation for terrorist acts under 5(1) of the British Terrorism Act of 2006 [text]. The men are alleged to have carried out reconnaissance on potential targets, downloaded research and materials, and tested explosive devices. US State Department [official website] spokesman Mark Toner told reporters in Washington [press release] that US officials in the UK were aware of the charges and "are working quite closely with British authorities, and appreciate the high level of cooperation that we have with them and are obviously taking suitable security precautions." British Security officials stated that the plots were not planned for over the holidays and were not connected to any larger European terror plots. The men will appear before England's Central Criminal Court [official website] in London on January 14.
The UK has been proactive about prompt apprehension of terror suspects since the July 2005 London transit bombings [JURIST report; JURIST news archive] that killed 52 people and injured 700 others. In October, a UK court began inquests into the bombings [JURIST report] to determine whether more lives could have been saved with a quicker response. In July, the UK Woolwich Crown Court sentenced three British Muslims to a minimum of 20 years in prison after being convicted [JURIST reports] under the Terrorism Act of 2006 for involvement with a 2006 plot to blow up numerous transatlantic flights to life in prison.