Police detain seven terror suspects in series of raids

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The Independent Online

Six men of North African origin and an Irish woman were being questioned by anti-terrorist police last night afterraids across the country against suspected supporters of al-Qa'ida.

Six men of North African origin and an Irish woman were being questioned by anti-terrorist police last night afterraids across the country against suspected supporters of al-Qa'ida.

The operation is understood to be connected to the arrests of seven Algerian men in London and Edinburgh in December. The suspects were charged with the possession of items suspected of being connected to the "commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism".

In yesterday's operation, police and anti-terrorism officers wearing protective armour made six early-morning raids in Edinburgh, London, Manchester and Glasgow. Two men were arrested in Edinburgh, two in London, one in Greater Manchester and a man and a woman in Glasgow. All of them were taken to Govan high-security police station in Glasgow.

Forensic science officers, wearing protective suits against possible poison contamination, searched several of the properties. No toxic substances were found and no one was injured.

The arrests are part of the police and security services' operations to disrupt and arrest suspected al-Qa'ida members and supporters of the network.

Details of the people arrested yesterday are understood to have been obtained while police were investigating the seven people arrested in December. The seven people arrested yesterday were detained under the Terrorism Act 2000 as part of an operation led by Lothian and Borders Police, assisted by Greater Manchester Police, the anti-terrorist branch of the Metropolitan Police and Strathclyde Police.

In Glasgow, police officers wearing full body armour arrived at the address in Royston and arrested a man and a woman. A cordon was set up around a ground-floor flat and three men were seen carrying what looked like bags of evidence into the flat at about 8.40am.

Police are expected to continue searching the property for at least two days. A car was taken away for examination.

In Edinburgh, police vans and a car were parked outside a block of flats in Granton Medway where a man was believed to have been arrested.

Deputy Chief Constable Tom Wood, operations director of Lothian and Borders Police, said the raids had been carefully co-ordinated and "executed successfully". He said: "Although searches of the addresses are continuing, it is important to stress that there has been no discovery of dangerous substances."

Jack McConnell, Scotland's First Minister, said: "The UK ... appears to be a target. All of us in Scotland should be vigilant. People should be alert but not alarmed." A spokesman for the Scottish Executive said ministers were briefed on the latest developments.

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