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Was a Mumbai-style terror attack really 'foiled'?

Public evidence out so far of a Mumbai-style terror attack contains claims that a group of men was hoping to kill people in London, but had no operatives in place, no weapons, and little in the way of logistics.

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An armed police officer stands guard outside the Houses of Parliament in London, on Sept. 24. Media coverage in the past few days has written at length about a potential 'Mumbai-style' terror attack planned for Britain.

Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

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Breathless coverage in the past few days has written at length about a potential "Mumbai-style" terror attack planned for Britainor perhaps Germany, or France – that was thwarted by the Obama administration's expanding aerial campaign against militant targets in Pakistan's lawless border provinces.

The reference to Mumbai is to the 10 militants who roamed the city's Taj Mahal Hotel, rail station, and other locations for hours two years ago, murdering 168 people and raising serious questions about the competence of India's security forces.

Many newspapers carried photographs of the Mumbai attackers in action in their stories on the revelation of the plot – which is said to have been disrupted when a US drone strike in Pakistan's North Waziristan killed a British national and alleged plotter on Sept. 8.

While those pictures and references to Mumbai conjured fears of similar carnage in London – where 52 citizens and four militants died in subway bombings in 2005 – what's become clear over the past few days that such an attack was far from being realized.

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