The UK could consider a ban on hand luggage and phones on flights after a security report warned of an Al Qaeda plot similar to 9/11 on London and other major cities during this Christmas.

The Express UK said in a report that the warning comes as Whitehall officials have admitted that a terror strike on the UK is now almost inevitable, with UK jihadis returning from fighting alongside the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The Sunday Express quoted an airport security source as saying: "We’ve been told that five planes are being targeted in a high-profile hit before Christmas. They’ve been waiting for the big one.

"We have many scares but this one nearly got hand baggage pulled from all airlines. The threat is still alive and real."

"We have many scares but this one nearly got hand baggage pulled from all airlines. The threat is still alive and real."

Earlier in November, home secretary Theresa May said that the UK had foiled 40 major plots since the 2005 attacks in London and that it was facing the biggest terrorism threat in its history.

Reuters had then reported that the government was considering setting out new laws to take on the militants, including legislation, making it easier for security services to track attackers online, and check if radicalised fighters were flying into the UK.

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The Express further quoted the unnamed source as saying: "High-level negotiations are continuing at governmental level but at the moment, there has been little done to respond. There is paralysis because of the difficulty of banning hand luggage which is one of the strongest weapons we have against the new threats.

"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 threat is aimed at Europe. The US has improved their security over the summer but we have not."

The UK Government recently unveiled a counter-terrorism and security bill, which contains a series of measures to prevent UK-born jihadis who travelled to Iraq and Syria from returning to the UK to carry out attacks.