British police hold 12 on suspicion of terror plans


TWELVE MEN, mostly British-born Bangladeshis, arrested by police yesterday after months of surveillance following suspicion they were planning a Christmas terror attack, will be held for 14 days for questioning.

The men, aged 17-28, were detained in 5am raids on homes in London, Stoke-on-Trent, Birmingham and Cardiff by unarmed officers. The lack of arms suggests the suspects were not immediately planning an attack.

No firearms or explosives have been found so far during searches at the home addresses of the 12 men but police emphasised it was vital to remain vigilant.

The British authorities did not claim a plot was being timed for the Christmas holidays – though al-Qaeda is well aware of the international publicity to be gained from doing so. Privately, sources insist an attack was in its final stages. The UK threat level is listed currently as “severe”.

Last night, senior Metropolitan Police officer John Yates insisted the arrests were “absolutely necessary”, in the wake of complaints police have carried out such raids before with no charges being levelled against those held.

The men are to be held in high-security jails “on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism in the UK”, allegedly a bomb plot planned by al-Qaeda.

The arrests are not thought to be linked to the December 11th suicide bombing in Stockholm, when Taimour Abdulwahab, who has a family living in Luton, Bedfordshire, blew himself up.

Home secretary Theresa May said the UK faced “a real and serious threat from terrorism”, but refused to give details about allegations facing the men.