British security services have foiled an Islamist plot to blow up Prime Minister Theresa May, Sky News reported on Tuesday.
Police told the network’s Martin Brunt that they believe the accused planned to launch an improvised explosive device at the heavily gated entrance to Downing Street and use “the ensuing chaos” to kill Theresa May.
“This is something which has been pursued over several weeks at least by Scotland Yard, MI5 and West Midlands Police,” Brunt said. “It came to a head last week with the arrest of two men, by armed police, who earlier today were charged with preparing acts of terrorism.”
The two men arrested for the plot – Naa’imur Zakariyah Rahman, 20, from north London and Mohammed Aqib Imran, 21, from Birmingham – will attend a preliminary court hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday morning.
The revelation comes hours after the head of MI5, Andrew Parker, revealed that police have foiled nine terrorist plots since March this year.
“Mr. Parker said that nine terrorist attacks have been prevented in the past year,” said a spokesperson for the Prime Minister. ‘There have been five attacks that have got through, four of which are related to Islamist terrorism.”
“The Prime Minister gave thanks to the tireless work of staff at MI5 to combat the unprecedented terrorist threat,” he continued.
Britain has been the target of three major Islamist terrorist incidents this year. In March, five people were killed and 50 people were injured in a terror attack outside London’s Houses of Parliament, while another attack in May on the London Bridge seven people dead and 48 injured.
Also in May, an attack during a concert in Manchester by the singer Ariana Grande killed 22 people and left 59 people injured, the majority of whom were children.
Downing Street was last targeted in 1991, when the Marxist guerrilla group the Irish Republican Army (IRA) through an explosive device into then-Prime Minister John Major’s garden, although he was not hurt in the incident.