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Nine men charged with planning terrorist attack in the UK

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Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

(Read caption) Snow dusts the Houses of Parliament in central London. Nine men have been held on suspicion of plotting a terrorist attack on the British Parliament and the London Eye.

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British police have charged nine of 12 men arrested last week on suspicion that they were plotting to carry out a terrorist attack.

The charges come in the wake of warnings from Western intelligence agencies in October about possible terror attacks in European cities. A common thread in the arrests and charges is that they involve "homegrown" Muslim plotters who are European citizens.

The nine men are charged with planning to cause an explosion or explosions "of a nature likely to endanger life or cause serious injury to property" in October and November this year, according to the Guardian. The paper wrote the men will also be charged with downloading materials to plan an attack, carrying out reconnaissance and testing bombs.

Three of the original 12 have since been released without charge.

The Sunday Mercury, citing "a security source close to the investigation" reported that at least five of the men were of Bangladeshi origin, and that they had planned attacks against the British Parliament and the London Eye, the Ferris wheel that is one of Britain's top tourist attractions.

Security officials have "played down" any connection between the plotters and Al Qaeda, the Mercury said.

The men are aged between 19 and 28, lived in Cardiff, London, and Stoke-on-Trent, and were arrested a week ago by unarmed police, The Daily Telegraph reported.

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