Police question five men filming near Sellafield
FIVE BANGLADESHI men, who were arrested on Monday after they were found with camera equipment near the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant in Cumbria, are being questioned in London by anti-terrorism police.
News of the arrests, which came after the men were stopped by the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, the force which guards all of the UK’s nuclear stations, was only released yesterday morning.
The arrests of the men, who are all in their 20s, were followed by raids on their east London homes. No further arrests are understood to have been made by police, who are on high alert following the US’s killing of Osama bin Laden.
Greater Manchester Police’s northwest counter-terrorism unit, which was leading the investigation prior to the men’s transfer to London, said: “At this stage we are not aware of any connection to recent events in Pakistan.”
So far police have given little detail about the arrests, although it is understood the men came to the attention of officers because they were filming near the Sellafield plant, which stores large amounts of reprocessed nuclear fuels and nuclear waste.
In the past terrorists have gathered intelligence on possible attack sites in the UK before launching suicide bomb attempts.
However, many arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000 – under which the five men were arrested – have subsequently been released without charge.
Meanwhile, British prime minister David Cameron has said the killing of bin Laden in Pakistan was “a strike at the heart” of international terrorism but he warned: “While bin Laden is gone, the threat of al-Qaeda remains.”
Following bin Laden’s death he said there was a risk that al-Qaeda “will want to demonstrate they are able to operate effectively”, while “there is always the risk of a radicalised individual acting alone, a so-called lone wolf attack”.
The UK terror alert which monitors threats from al-Qaeda and Northern Irish dissident republicans currently stands at “severe”, the highest level it can go without specific intelligence of an impending attack.
During lengthy questioning from MPs, Mr Cameron was careful not to damage relations with Pakistan.
Saying it was clear that bin Laden had “an extensive support network” in Pakistan and that it was right to ask “searching questions” about it, he did not go further and link Pakistan’s ISI intelligence agency to the al-Qaeda’s leader survival for so long.
Mr Cameron was called at 3am on Monday when he was staying in Chequers by US president Barack Obama to be told that bin Laden was dead, although it seems he had not been told in advance of the operation.
Mr Cameron’s spokeswoman could not clarify the confusion caused by Mr Obama’s declaration that “counter-terrorism co-operation with Pakistan” had helped to track down bin Laden even though the Pakistanis insist they did not know where he was.
Briefing MPs, Mr Cameron said Pakistan has suffered more from terrorism than any other country with “as many as 30,000 innocent civilians have been killed”.