UK police arrest five in terrorism inquiry involving France, Belgium

LONDON: British police said they had arrested five people on suspicion of preparing acts of terrorism as part of an investigation which had involved Belgian and French authorities to address any threat to Britain after the Paris and Brussels attacks.


Police said three men and a woman had been arrested in Birmingham, central England, on Thursday and another man was held at London’s Gatwick Airport in the early hours of Friday.

“The arrests were pre-planned and intelligence-led. There was no risk to the public at any time and there is no information to suggest an attack in the UK was being planned,” Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale from West Midlands Police said in a statement.

“This action forms part of an extensive investigation by West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit, together with the wider counter terrorism network, (domestic spy agency) MI5 and international partners including Belgian and French authorities to address any associated threat to the UK following the attacks in Europe.”

British media have reported that a Belgian man, suspected of involvement in last month’s Daesh (Islamic State) attacks in Brussels, had travelled to Birmingham last year and taken photos of a soccer stadium.

On March 22, two suicide bombers blew up suitcase bombs at Brussels airport before a third struck a metro train in the city. Thirty-two people were killed.