Search continues at mosque

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The Independent Online

Anti-terrorist officers continued to search a London mosque with links to the al-Qa'ida network yesterday and removed further documents and other material.

Anti-terrorist officers continued to search a London mosque with links to the al-Qa'ida network yesterday and removed further documents and other material.

The operation at the Finsbury Park mosque follows Monday's 2am raid involving 150 officers, in which seven men were arrested and a stun gun, imitation firearm and a CS gas canister were seized.

As forensic science specialists searched the offices of the North London Central Mosque a group of protesters demonstrated near by, handing leaflets to passers-by. Members of the radical Islamic group Al-Muhajiroun used a loudhailer to voice their anger outside Finsbury Park Tube station, 100 metres from the mosque. The police operation followed information obtained earlier in the month during a raid on a north London flat which was allegedly being used by terrorists to make thepoison ricin. At least one of the men arrested at the mosque is considered by police to be linked to the alleged ricin plot. Six North Africans, believed to include five Algerians aged from 23 to 48, and a 22-year-old from Eastern Europe were detained.

The arrests were also part of attempts by MI5 and Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist branch to disrupt a wider network of suspected Algerian supporters of al-Qa'ida who are thought to be plotting a variety of crude chemical attacks in Britain. The seven men arrested at the mosque are being held under the Terrorism Act 2000. Police were still trying to establish whether any of the men were living in Britain illegally. Officers continued to examine hundreds of credit cards, passports, and other documents, seized during the raids, to establish whether they are forged. Computer equipment was also being examined.

One of the seven men arrested during the ricin raids in Wood Green, north London, was charged yesterday with developing or making a chemical weapon. Nasreddine Fekhadji, 36, from Finsbury Park, was also charged with possessing articles for use in terrorism. Three Algerian men and a teenager have already been charged with the same offences.