An Islamist terror plot to assassinate British Prime Minister Theresa May has been foiled by the country’s security services who arrested two men in connection with the scheme, media reports said on Wednesday.
Two men were arrested last week following a joint operation by MI5, the UK’s counter-terrorism security service, and police.
The two men have been arrested on suspicion of plotting to kill the prime minister by using a bomb disguised as a bag to blow off the gates of Downing Street and then attack her with knives.
The suspects were detained during raids in London and Birmingham last week and charged with terrorism offences. They are due to appear in Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
Security officials believe the alleged Islamist plot is the ninth to have been thwarted since March this year.
The attack on Westminster in March heralded the start of a spate of attacks, with five terrorist atrocities getting through Britain’s defences this year and claiming a total of 36 lives in London and Manchester.
The details of the latest plot emerged as an official report into the terrorist attacks Britain suffered between March and June was released.
The plot was revealed to the Cabinet on Tuesday by Andrew Parker, the head of MI5, who also told ministers that security services have foiled nine terrorist attacks on the UK in the last year, media reports said.
The Metropolitan Police said Naa’imur Zakariyah Rahman, 20, from north London, and Mohammed Aqib Imran, 21, from Birmingham, had been charged with preparing a terrorist act.
A Scotland Yard spokesperson declined to confirm that the arrests were linked to a plot to attack May.
It comes as a new report found that security services could possibly have prevented a suicide attack at the Manchester Arena in May. Bomber Salman Abedi killed 22 people when he blew himself up outside an Ariana Grande concert.
Image: The two men, planning to kill Theresa May, were going to use a bomb disguised as a bag to blow off the gates of Downing Street and then attack her with knives. Photograph: Jack Taylor/Getty Images