The Metropolitan Police has confirmed that officers from its Counter Terrorism Command have opened an urgent probe after a package believed to contain a small amount of uranium was discovered in a shipment at Heathrow Airport.
The package is understood to have arrived in London on a flight from Muscat, Oman. The only direct flights currently serving Heathrow from Muscat are by the country’s government-controlled flag carrier, Oman Air.
Sources told The Sun that the shipment originated in Pakistan before being shipped to Oman and then being forwarded on a flight to the UK. The same sources claim the package was to be smuggled to a group of Iranians who are based in the UK before it was intercepted by the security services.
Shortly after the shipment arrived at Heathrow, it was transferred to a cargo warehouse where specialist CBRN scanners alerted workers to a potential threat. Officers from the UK Border Force were despatched to the warehouse and a full-scale security incident was declared.
The shipment arrived at Heathrow on December 29 but news of the discovery is only now being made public.
In an attempt to allay fears of a potential terror threat, Commander Richard Smith from the Metropolitan Police said the amount of ‘material’ was “extremely small” and didn’t pose a threat to the public.
“Although our investigation remains ongoing, from our inquiries so far, it does not appear to be linked to any direct threat,” Commander Smith continued.
Some commentators, however, say the shipment could have been a dry run as part of a bigger terror plot that could even involve a ‘dirty bomb’ attack.
“As the public would expect, however, we will continue to follow up on all available lines of enquiry to ensure this is definitely the case,” Smith added.
The Metropolitan Police said in a statement that the discovery was testament to the “excellent capability” the security services had been in place at ports across the UK to detect and isolate potential threats.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.