LONDON — British police say they have arrested four young men in London on suspicion of plotting terrorist acts in the U.K.
The Metropolitan Police says the men aged 18, 24, 25 and 27 were arrested Wednesday at addresses in east London under the Terrorism Act on suspicion of “the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.”
The police force says the arrests are linked to activity in the U.K., but has not revealed details of the alleged plot.
The force says officers are searching five homes and a business in east London as part of the investigation, which is led by counterterrorism police and the domestic intelligence agency, MI5.
British officials have set the threat level from international terrorism at “severe,” indicating an attack is highly likely.
Sources said the alleged plot did not appear to involve a bomb or sophisticated weapons, but was more likely to have seen a low tech attack such as the use of knives or vehicles to cause mayhem.
Officers moved in just after midday on Wednesday at addresses in east London.
Armed officers were not used to arrest the suspects and a police source said the raids had been “low key”.
The operation is the latest in a string of terror raids across the country and as the threat level to the UK has been judged as severe for the past three years, meaning an attack is highly likely.
Last month a 21-year-old woman was shot as counter terrorism officers stormed a home in North West London.
Rizlaine Boular, 21, was wounded when armed police stormed a flat in the Willesden area on April 27.
Miss Boular, her mother Mina Dich, 43, and their 20-year-old associate, Khawla Barghouthi, have all been charged with terrorism offences and have been remanded into custody.
That raid came on the same day that terror suspect Khalid Mohammed Omar Ali, was arrested just yards from Downing Street carrying three knives.
The 27-year-old has been charged with preparing for a terrorist act and also bomb making during time he spent in Afghanistan.
Counter terrorism officers fear the threat to Britain will become more acute as the Islamic State group’s stronghold in Iraq and Syria collapses and British extremists who had rallied to the so-called caliphate head back to Europe.
As many as 350 people who pose a potential terror risk are already though to have returned fro Syria and Iraq, while hundreds more particularly hard core jihadists are thought to be remaining in the group’s shrinking territory.
A Met Police spokesman said Wednesday’s arrest “were pre-planned as part of an ongoing investigation by the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command and MI5.
“The arrests are linked to activity in the UK.”
Mary Greeley News