Al-Qaeda plot to blow up summit
By GEORGE PASCOE-WATSON, Political Editor, and SIMON HUGHES, Chief Investigative Reporter | December 12, 2008
AN al-Qaeda suicide plot was foiled last night as Gordon Brown arrived for an international summit.
The PM jetted into Brussels as 14 terror suspects held in dramatic swoops across the Belgian capital were grilled.
Just hours earlier Mr Brown had kept his cool as the terror threat unfolded — casually attempting some fancy footwork with Strictly Come Dancing’s Lisa Snowdon.
The PM — who was kept up to speed with the arrests in Brussels — then headed to catch his plane.
Suicide bombers were said to have been poised to make the “ultimate sacrifice” as he joined 26 fellow EU leaders for talks on the credit crunch, climate change and the stalled Lisbon treaty.
But the plotters were unaware their terror cell was being monitored by security services.
Anti-terror cops swooped after learning the extremists had been given the “green light” to activate their plot.
Almost 250 officers were involved in 16 raids across Brussels and one in the eastern city of Liege.
Federal prosecutor John Delmulle revealed one terrorist had “said goodbye to his loved ones because he wanted to enter paradise with a clear conscience.”
He added: “There was no other choice than to intervene.”
Among those held was the Moroccan widow of a suicide bomber.
She and the other suspects were feared to be linked to convicted al-Qaeda terrorist Nizar Trabelsi — an ex-Tunisian soccer star.
Trabelsi, 37, is behind bars over a plot to car bomb a Belgian airbase where US soldiers are stationed.
He is known to have had past contacts with Brit shoe bomb terrorists Richard Reid and Saajid Badat. Police yesterday seized computers and a pistol.
Mr Brown’s 9.30am twirl with Capital FM beauty Lisa, 37, came as he opened the new Global Radio HQ in London’s Leicester Square.
One wag joked as beaming Mr Brown mistakenly adopted a WOMAN partner’s dance stance: “He was even worse than John Sergeant.”