Five men were arrested in Cardiff, Wales, four others were arrested in central England and three in London.
The 12 individuals aged 17 to 28 years are suspected by Scotland Yard to prepare one or more terrorist attacks in Britain during the Christmas period.
This series of arrests and searches could be related to the statement last week, of a senior Iraqi official who said that Al Qaeda was planning to commit terrorist attacks in the United States, Great Britain and other European countries during the holiday season.
Last year, Christmas Day, a young Nigerian who was said linked to Al Qaeda tried to activate an explosive device in a U.S. airliner which connected Amsterdam and Detroit.
The 23 year old man carrying explosives stuck to his leg and tried to activate using a chemical contained in a syringe. He was subdued by passengers before putting his plan into action.
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