Trio held in Tamil Tigers terror probe

Three men were arrested today by counter-terrorist officers in London and Wales as part of a long-term investigation into the Tamil Tigers.

Scotland Yard said dawn raids took place at residential and business properties in Newtown, Powys, Mitcham, south-west London, and Surrey.

Two men, aged 39 and 46, were arrested at separate addresses in Newtown, and a third, aged 33, was held in Mitcham, a spokesman said.

All three men were arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.

They were to be questioned later today at high security Paddington Green police station in central London.

The spokesman said: "At 6.30am today officers from Counter Terrorism Command supported by Dyfed-Powys Police executed search warrants at a number of residential and business addresses in Newtown, Powys.

"Further warrants were executed at addresses in Mitcham and Surrey. Three men were arrested.

"A 46-year-old and 39-year-old were arrested at separate addresses in Powys and a 33-year-old was arrested in Mitcham on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.

"This is part of a long-term investigation into alleged funding and procurement activity in support of terrorism overseas and two people have already been charged in connection with this investigation.

"It is not linked to al-Qa'ida-type activity or inspired terrorism. It is in relation to support, procurement and fundraising for a proscribed organisation, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (Tamil Tigers)."

The LTTE is responsible for guerrilla attacks against armed forces and political targets in Sri Lanka, off the coast of southern India.

The rebels are fighting for autonomy for minority Tamils in the north and east of the island, claiming discrimination by the majority population.

More than 70,000 people have died in more than three decades of fighting and thousands have been forced to leave their homes.

The LTTE is thought to have power bases in both London and Paris, where sympathisers work to raise money for sophisticated weapons and other support.

More than 30 countries have proscribed the LTTE as a terrorist organisation, including the UK under the Terrorism Act 2000.

Two men, both from south London, have already appeared in court charged with terrorist offences in connection with the same operation.

One of the men is accused of arranging meetings of the Tamil Tigers and addressing an event in Hyde Park, central London.

He is also accused of amassing a hoard of military equipment including machetes, combat boots, camouflage clothes, spades and handcuffs. He denies the offences.

Last November, Tamil Tiger leader Colonel Karuna Amman was arrested in a joint operation by British police and immigration officials.

No details have been released of where he was detained or whether Sri Lanka will begin extradition proceedings.

Several days earlier, the head of the Tamil Tigers' political wing was killed in a wave of government air strikes in Sri Lanka.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn