Five men were arrested today 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 a hotel near Heathrow airport 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 year-long 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 minimize disruption.
“This is a complex and ongoing investigation, which has now reached the point where it was necessary to make arrests and speak to a number of people,” he said.
The operation was described as “low key” and involved 40 unarmed officers from the North West Counter Terrorism Unit, police 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 Rydal Walk, Stalybridge. Another man, aged 26, was detained at a hotel near Heathrow.Reuse content