Islamic School outside London being searched after arrests as premises for Muslim Youth terror training camps and retreats
September 3, 2006
London arrests 16 in anti-terror raid
By The Associated Press
LONDON - British police arrested 14 people in raids and said Saturday they suspected the men had been involved in training and recruiting for terror attacks. Two others were arrested in an unrelated terror investigation in Manchester.
Police said the arrests late Friday and early Saturday were not linked to last month's alleged plot to bomb U.S.-bound passenger jets or to the July 2005 attacks on London's transport network.
Authorities said the arrests followed months of surveillance and stemmed from an investigation into terror training and recruitment.
The 14 people, arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism, were being held in central London, police said. Officers were searching other homes around the capital, they said.
Some of the suspects were apprehended at a south London halal Chinese restaurant, police said.
Mehdi Belyani, the owner of the restaurant, the Bridge to China Town, near London South Bank University in Southwark, said dozens of police had raided the crowded restaurant shortly after 10 p.m. Friday and questioned about 15 customers.
"The police stayed for more than two hours talking to the group one by one," he said. "The men were very calm and I could not hear what was being said. But my other customers were all very shocked."
The Jameah Islamiyah Secondary School, a Muslim school in East Sussex, south of London, also was being searched Saturday, Sussex police said.
In Manchester, northern England, two people were arrested early Saturday in an unrelated anti-terror investigation after officers searched three houses, police said.
Those actions were part of the same investigation that led to the Aug. 23 arrest of a terror suspect in Manchester and were not linked to the alleged airliner plot, police said. They declined to provide further details.
The two suspects were both relatives of the man arrested earlier, said Omar Shaukat, a family friend. Neither he nor police identified the suspects.
The raids came less than a month after the Aug. 9-10 arrests of 25 people in an alleged plot to bomb as many as 10 planes flying from Britain to America. Fifteen of those have since been charged, five have been released and five are being held without charge.
Peter Clarke, head of Metropolitan Police anti-terror efforts, said police and intelligence agents were trying to track thousands of people believed to be directly or indirectly involved in terrorism, according to comments made public Friday.
The threat from homegrown terrorism is increasing in Britain, he told the British Broadcasting Corp. in an interview to be broadcast Sunday, an advance transcript said.
"What we've learnt since 9/11 is that the threat is not something that's simply coming from overseas into the United Kingdom," Clarke said. "What we've learned, and what we've seen all too graphically and all too murderously, is that we have a threat which is being generated here within the United Kingdom."