HELICOPTERS READY TO CARRY SAS TO CRUSH ANY CHRISTMAS TERROR ATTACK
The Sun 22 Dec 2010
Helicopters are waiting on the SAS's football pitch - ready to carry crack troops to crush any Christmas terror attack.
Chinooks and Pumas were moved to the elite unit's Hereford HQ when fears of a Mumbai-style attack in the UK first emerged.
Army bosses put a "substantial" number of the Who Dares Wins soldiers on round-the-clock standby - set to go at a moment's notice. All other duties and exercises were cancelled.
Members of the SAS force are even banned from any booze over the festive period.
The alert is the most telling proof yet of how seriously anti-terror bosses are taking the nightmare threat of a "spectacular" attack.
The standby order has been confirmed by senior military sources.
But to protect national security, The Sun has agreed not to reveal the precise size of the force or how many choppers are involved.
The jumbo Chinooks - which can carry up to 40 fully armed troops - are usually based at RAF Odiham, Hants.
The Pumas - which can carry 16 - are from RAF Benson, Oxfordshire.
An SAS source said last night: "We haven't had this many troopers on immediate standby for a UK operation since the 1990s when the IRA were still active.
"The Government is taking the threat of a 'Mumbai' on a busy British shopping street extremely seriously."
Last week we revealed that some SAS troops have been moved from their Sterling Lines HQ to be closer to major urban areas.
The alert was triggered last month when foreign intelligence agencies discovered an Islamic plot to launch raids on European cities to rival the Mumbai horror that left 170 dead.
Home Secretary Theresa May has urged Brits to be vigilant. The official terror threat level is "severe" meaning an attack is likely.
An Ministry of Defense spokesman said: "We do not comment on Special Forces operations."