U.S. embassy in London was a target of UK suspects

WASHINGTON Mon Dec 27, 2010 2:21pm EST

A sign is seen outside the United States embassy in central London, November 29, 2010. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

A sign is seen outside the United States embassy in central London, November 29, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Andrew Winning

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. embassy in London was a target of a group of men arrested last week in Britain and charged with conspiracy to cause explosions and preparing acts of terrorism, the U.S. State Department said on Monday.

Twelve men were arrested on December 20 in what British police said were counter-terrorism raids essential to protect the public from the threat of attack.

Three were later released without charges, leaving nine who appeared in court on Monday to face the charges.

Asked if he was aware of reports the suspects indicated that the U.S. embassy in London was on their target list, State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters: "I am aware and ... obviously our folks in London are aware of this."

In response to a follow-up question during a telephone briefing with reporters, Toner said: "You asked me if we were aware that we were on the targeting list and I confirmed that."

The suspects were from London, the Welsh capital of Cardiff and the central English city of Stoke.

A British police statement said the men had conspired to cause "explosions of a nature likely to endanger life or cause serious injury to property".

It added they had been downloading material from the Internet, researching and discussing potential targets, carrying out reconnaissance and "igniting and testing incendiary material".

The police statement did not specify what the potential targets were.

(Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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