The Associated Press reports the U.S. government has raised the threat warning to red, the highest level, for commercial flights from Britain to the United States in response to a terror plot in London:
"We believe that these arrests (in London) have significantly disrupted the threat, but we cannot be sure that the threat has been entirely eliminated or the plot completely thwarted," said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff in announcing that the threat level for flights from Britain to the United States has been raised to the highest "severe or red" level.
"To defend further against any remaining threat from this plot, we will also raise the threat level to high, or orange, for all commercial aviation operating in or destined for the United States," Chertoff said.
[. . .]
"Due to the nature of the threat revealed by this investigation, we are prohibiting any liquids, including beverages, hair gels, and lotions from being carried on the airplane."
It is believed to be the first time the red alert level in the Homeland Security warning system has been invoked, although there have been brief periods in the past when the orange level was applied.
Earlier, the BBC reported Scotland Yard foiled a terrorist plot to blow up planes in mid-flight from the UK to the US:
It is thought the plan was to detonate explosive devices smuggled on aircraft in hand luggage.
Police have arrested about 18 people in the London area after an anti-terrorist operation lasting several months.
Security at all airports in the UK has been tightened and delays are reported. MI5 has raised the UK threat level to critical - the highest possible.
According to MI5's website, critical threat level means "an attack is expected imminently and indicates an extremely high level of threat to the UK".
Passengers will not be allowed to take any hand luggage on to any flights in the UK:
Only the barest essentials - including passports and wallets - will be allowed to be carried on board in transparent plastic bags.
Sky News reports the terrorists plotted to blow up as many as 20 planes over UK and US cities using liquid explosives that might be missed during the x-ray screening of such luggage.
Mark Noonan has it right:
It is either fight these people until we have secured total victory, or go down to total defeat. There's no middle road here - no way to negotiate our differences away.