UK arrests four over alleged ‘Islamist’ terrorist plot
British police said Friday they had arrested four men in connection to alleged Islamic terrorism and UK media speculated the timing of the arrests hinted at fears of an imminent attack on British soil.
Scotland Yard said on its website that officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command arrested the four men – aged between 22 and 27 – overnight Thursday on suspicion of being concerned in the “commission, preparation or instigation of acts of Terrorism.”
“These arrests and searches are part of an ongoing investigation into Islamic related terrorism,” it said.
Meanwhile, UK media linked the arrests to Sunday’s Remembrance Day, a British memorial day held at Horse Guards, Whitehall, that commemorates the armistice agreement that ended World War I.
The Times newspaper said the raids that led the arrests had foiled a suspected Islamist attack on Remembrance Sunday.
The British daily said the alleged plot is thought to have been inspired by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). It said police and security sources would not reveal whether there was a specific target.
“The timing of the arrests, overnight on Thursday, suggested an urgency to the operation, pointing to fears of an imminent attack,” the newspaper said.
In August, the UK raised its national terror threat level from “substantial” to “severe,” meaning a terrorist attack is “highly likely.”
The BBC reported one official as pointing out the arrests of the four suspects came only two days before Remembrance Sunday.
The Times said Army guards have stood watch over the ceremonial sentries at Horse Guards, on Whitehall, since the last month’s murder of Canadian reservist Nathan Cirillo. He had been on ceremonial duty at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa, the daily said.
The paper quoted sources as saying that the arrests of the four came after an MI5 operation detected concerns that “subjects of interest” were involved in “attack planning.”