Monday, October 14, 2013

United Kingdom: British Police Detain Four Terror Suspects 200 Meters from Tower of London

According to Agence-France-Presse (AFP), British police were questioning four men earlier today (October 14) on suspicion of terrorism after a string of arrests that included armed officers shooting out the tires of a vehicle near the Tower of London.

Reports in British media said the men had been arrested in coordinated raids across London on Sunday night (October 13) that were aimed at preventing an alleged terror plot involving the use of firearms. Police said they were still searching six premises and two vehicles on Monday.

Armed officers arrested two men both aged 25 in a street in east London, one man aged 28 at a house in Notting Hill, West London, and a fourth man aged 29 in a street in Peckham, southeast London.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said so-called Hatton rounds--special shotgun ammunition used to breach doors--were "specifically used to disable a vehicle" in the arrests in East London.

COMMENT: The arrest took place in a street about 200 meters from the Tower of London, one of London's busiest tourist attractions.

All four suspects were being held at a police station in south London on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.

Under British terrorism laws the suspects can be held for 48 hours and then can apply for warrants to hold them for up to 14 days from the time of arrest.

Police said the raids were the result of a "preplanned intelligence operation" and added that "public safety remains our overriding concern."

London has experienced a number of terror attacks in recent years, including the July 7, 2005 bombings on the transport system in which four Islamist suicide bombers killed 52 people and injured 700 persons on both the London Underground and the mass-transit bus system in Greater London.