Twelve (MUSLIM) men were arrested early this morning in a major national counter-terrorism operation, police said today. The men – five from Cardiff, four from Stoke-on-Trent and three from London – were detained on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism in the UK.
UK DAILY MAIL–The suspects, aged between 17 and 28, were detained by unarmed officers at approximately 5am. It is understood that the plans for the alleged attacks were at an advanced stage and involved ‘multiple’ locations.
West Midlands Police said in a statement: ‘All were arrested at or near their home addresses, with the exception of one suspect from Stoke who was at a domestic property in Birmingham.
Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner John Yates, national lead for counter-terrorism policing, said: ‘Earlier today, police arrested 12 men in a pre-planned, intelligence-led national counter-terrorism operation.
‘The men, from the London, Stoke and Cardiff areas, are aged between 17 and 28. They were all arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000 on suspicion of the commission, cooperation and instigation of acts of terrorism. ‘They are currently in custody at three separate police stations across the country where they will be interviewed over the coming days.
‘The operation is in its early stages so I am unable to go into any detail at this time. ‘However, what I would say is that with the current threat level in the UK at severe and with the information we have, I believe today’s arrests were absolutely necessary in order to keep the public safe.’
Hoe Secretary Theresa May was fully briefed on the raids before they took place, the Home Office confirmed.
The arrests come after intelligence agencies in Europe, Pakistan and the U.S. intercepted a credible Islamic plot to launch raids on European cities, in a similar style to the attacks in Mumbai, India, two years ago.
More than 170 people were killed during a 24-hour co-ordinated attack on Mumbai, also known as Bombay, by ten gunmen in November 2008. It has been blamed on Pakistani militants.
The planned attack in September would reportedly have been similar to the deadly commando-style raids in Mumbai, with other European cities, in France and Germany, also targeted.
The UK’s terror threat rating remains at ‘severe’, the second-highest rating, meaning a terrorist attack is highly likely.