British authorities believe Al-Qaeda is planning a major terror attack for the Christmas holiday, according to a British news daily, including placing bombs on five passenger planes.
"We've been told that five planes are being targeted in a high profile hit before Christmas," an airport security official told the Sunday Express. "They've been waiting for the big one."
"We have many scares but this one nearly got hand baggage pulled from all airlines," he added. "The threat is still alive and real."
Authorities have allegedly known about the plot for two months, and claim that the Islamists plan to smuggle bombs aboard the planes, all of which would be headed for popular European destinations.
A "security insider" told the daily that the government is debating banning carry-on baggage in light of the plot, but that nothing concrete has been done yet.
"There is paralysis because of the difficulty of banning hand luggage which is one of the strongest weapons we have against the new threats," the insider stated.
"All electronics may be banned from hand luggage and placed in the hold, that has been considered, and there has been behaviour analysis training at airports but while it's effective, it's difficult to roll out quickly and is not a sufficient safety net."
The US Transportation Security Administration has already banned electronics without power from being taken into aircraft holds for this specific reason in July, and the UK's Department for Transport followed suit.
"Everyone is expecting something catastrophic very soon," he added.
Home Secretary Theresa May stated last week that the UK is on high alert for "lone wolf" attacks on British soil, and that it is London's view that Britain is being targeted, specifically, by Islamists.