Eight people were arrested today as part of a major anti-terror investigation into an alleged kidnap plot.
The suspects were held during a series of early morning raids by dozens of police officers across Birmingham.
Security sources said the alleged plot was a “close quarters” style operation, probably targeting an ordinary member of the public for an Iraq-style abduction.
The plot, said to have been in the later stages of planning, may have mirrored the kidnappings of the British hostages Ken Bigley and Margaret Hassan by Iraqi insurgents.
Sources said it marked a “new departure” for terrorism in the UK and that a major terrorist incident had been thwarted.
It was not a July 7-style bomb plot or a hijacking, sources stressed.