Reports from the The Sun newspaper claim arrests made overnight by Greater Manchester Police had almost certainly foiled a suicide bombing attack at Old Trafford, Britain’s biggest sporting stadium, which holds 67,721 people.
Intelligence chiefs said several al-Qaeda extremists had planned to blow themselves up in separate parts of the ground during the match and had already bought tickets for the sell-out match.
The arrests overnight continued a crackdown by British police on terrorist suspects. Seven of the latest suspects were arrested in the Manchester area and included one woman. The others were detained in Staffordshire, South Yorkshire and the West Midlands.
Those held were described as being of North African and Iraqi Kurdish descent and were detained under the Terrorism Act passed in 2000 on suspicion of the “commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism”, police said. A 10th man was apprehended a day earlier in the Canadian capital Ottawa in relation to the same alleged conspiracy.
A 10th man was apprehended a day earlier in the Canadian capital Ottawa in relation to the same alleged conspiracy.