Five men were arrested yesterday as part of an investigation into the alleged recruitment of terrorists to join training camps in Afghanistan.
Among those held during the series of early-morning raids at addresses in Greater Manchester and at a hotel near Heathrow was a 62-year-old Muslim preacher who was taken from his home in Bolton.
Police said there was no imminent threat within Britain and that the inquiry was focusing on an overseas target. It was the culmination of a yearlong investigation into alleged recruitment going on within the UK.
Assistant Chief Constable Dave Thompson, of Greater Manchester Police, sought to reassure the large Muslim communities where the arrests were made and said officers would do everything they could to explain what was going on and to minimise disruption.
"This is a complex investigation, which has now reached the point where it was necessary to make arrests and speak to a number of people," he said.
The men were continuing to be questioned last night under the Terrorism Act 2000 while the properties were sealed off and searched.
The suspects included a 52-year-old from Longsight, a 21-year-old arrested at Fallowfield and a 27-year-old held at Stalybridge. A fifth man, 26, was detained at a hotel near Heathrow.Reuse content