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Terror in the Air

Terrorists use exploding clothes - fly naked, say airlines

Intelligence operation foils terrorist plot to destroy aircraft with 'shell-suit bombs'

Exploding shell suitsBritain's anti-terror forces have foiled a plot by terrorists to use ordinary clothing as explosives. Troops, armed police and private security guards - in an operation described by one spokesman as being of "huge self-importance" - swooped on airports to prevent the so-called 'shell-suit bombs' from being used in a devastating attack on airlines.

The unprecented security clampdown saw passengers embarking at several major UK airports, including Birmingham, Liverpool and Little Snoring, being forced to travel naked.

"We have strong evidence that terrorists were planning to use unstable man-made fabrics to bring down aeroplanes on long-haul international flights," said a spokesman for the security forces. "In particular, our intelligence pointed to flights terminating at Disney World, Florida and Malaga."

The spokesman said that the operation was the culmination of several months of monitoring internet chatrooms in which a number of people had been discussing the electrical properties of nylon. "This operation has prevented a fashion catastrophe of unprecented horror," said the spokesman.

Experts wheeled out by Britain's Home Office claimed that certain artificial fibres, when combined in the right way, are capable of unleashing energy capable of wreaking incalculable carnage.

"These fibres are easily obtainable in any high street," said Dr Felicity Crippen of the Government Agenda Support Institute. "When they are brought together, they generate an explosive force equivalent to several molecules of TNT. Get enough items of clothing in one place and you have a bomb of unimaginable horror."

The intelligence operation apparently centred on certain branches of Asda, C&A and Milletts. A sudden increase in sales of shell suits prompted the authorities to take action. "Milletts had a sale," said one unnamed anti-terror officer who can only be identified by his silhouette. "I mean, the prices were really amazingly low. And they sold out of shell suits in two days. That's when we knew we had to strike."

When asked about the timing of the operation, Chief Inspector Willy Woantee, head of the Special Branch Public Awareness Diversion Squad, pointed to a recent lack of terror alerts and some very disturbing stories coming out of the Middle East. "It was the right time, without a doubt," he said.

Asked whether arrests of terror suspects were expected in the near future, Chief Inspector Woantee said, "We are expecting a large number of arrests in Liverpool." When pushed as to whether any of these would be related to the terror plot he added, "It's too soon to tell".

Several airlines have released statements pointing out that they don't fly from these airports, but that in response to government pressure they would be considering banning clothes on all budget flights.