Thwarted London Plot May Have Been 'The Big One'

Counterterror officials say plot may have been the kind of major follow-up attack feared sinced 9/11


Mendoza was among the law enforcement officers involved in thwarting a plot by al-Qaida terror mastermind Ramzi Yousef - this one way back in 1995 - to use liquid explosives to blow up a dozen airliners as they flew across the Pacific Ocean to U.S. destinations, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu and New York.

Like al-Qaida's decade-long effort to bring down the World Trade Center in New York, first in 1993 and then, disastrously, in 2001, the latest plot to blow up commercial airliners reveals the group's unwavering resolve, Mendoza said.

"These people are obsessed," he said. "They will try and try and try again to accomplish their mission."

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EDITOR'S NOTE - Paul Haven has covered terrorism issues for The Associated Press since 2001. Reporters throughout Europe and Asia, and in the United States, contributed to this report.