LONDON – Police conducted anti-terrorism raids in London and several towns Tuesday, arresting 13 people believed involved in preparing terrorist acts. London’s Metropolitan Police said the afternoon and evening arrests were “part of a pre-planned, ongoing intelligence-led operation.”
The men were detained “on suspicion of being concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism,” the police statement said, without elaborating.
The arrests were in northwest London, the suburban area of Bedfordshire, the town of Luton in the Hertfordshire area just outside the capital, and the town of Blackburn, in the northernwestern region of Lancashire.
The suspects, who are all in their 20s and 30s, will be brought to a central London police station for questioning by anti-terrorism officers, police said. They declined to specify the men’s nationalities.
Police said the investigation leading to the arrests had been underway for some time and did not say whether they were linked to the terror threats disclosed by American authorities Sunday to financial industry buildings in New York, Washington D.C., and Newark, N.J.
Pakistan’s information minister said Monday his country found plans for new attacks against the United States and Britain on a computer seized during the arrest last month of a senior al-Qaida suspect wanted for the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa.
While British authorities say the threat from terrorism remains high, they have not warned of any specific threat like that announced in the United States. The intelligence behind the latest U.S. terror warnings was as much as four years old, and law enforcement officials are trying to determine whether the plot was current, with terrorists still trying to organize such an attack.
Police will have up to two weeks to hold the men before deciding whether to charge them, but courts grant that permission only a few days at a time.
Suspects arrested in previous anti-terrorism raids have often been released without charge before the two weeks expire.