Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Searches are being carried out at 12 addresses. Eight people have been arrested under the Terrorism Act in Birmingham in connection with an alleged plot to kidnap a member of the armed forces.
A number of addresses in the city have been sealed off after morning raids.
The operation, believed to have taken six months, involved police and security service MI5.
Senior security sources said a terror plot not aimed at mass casualties would mark "a different approach to terrorism in the UK".
BBC Home Affairs Correspondent Daniel Sandford said sources close to the investigation said the aim of the alleged plot was to kidnap a serving member of the armed forces, perhaps while they were on home leave.
He stressed the arrests were based on intelligence, which could prove to be wrong.
The Ministry of Defence said it could not confirm or deny reports of such a plot.

Police said 12 addresses in the Sparkhill, Washwood Heath, Kingstanding and Edgbaston areas of the city were targeted as part of the 0400 GMT raids.
All are still being searched.
Two houses and a general store in Alum Rock, near Washwood Heath, were raided.
The Maktabah book store in Stratford Road, Sparkhill, which is believed to sell Islamic literature, was also raided.
Police have cordoned off roads around Jackson Road and Foxton Road, in Alum Rock, and Poplar Road and Stratford Road, in Sparkhill.
Police have not confirmed any of the raided addresses.
The BBC's Phil Mackie said there had been some anger and cynicism among locals who had witnessed previous terror raids in the area without anyone being charged.
Baswant Kant, who lives in Stratford Road, near the junction with Poplar Road, said about 55 police officers "turned up in white vans" in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
"They went into shops and restaurants along the road - a lot of people got arrested," he said.
Saqib Hussain, of Sparkhill, said he had visited the raided book shop many times and "had never seen any suspicions of terrorist activity".
Mohamed Barber told BBC News his cousin was one of the men arrested in Alum Rock.
"We can vouch for him he is innocent. He doesn't even have time to go to Friday prayers - that's how busy he is," he added.
Abdul Ghaffoor, a regular shopper at the general store, said he had never heard politics being discussed in the shop.
Public co-operation
Leaders at the Alum Rock Islamic Centre, the main mosque in the area, said the community was shocked at events, but urged calm and appealed to people to co-operate with the police investigation.
Ayub Pervaz, the mosque's president, said: "Our view is very clear. If people have broken the law they should be brought to justice.
"But we also appeal for no trial by media. If any of those arrested turn out to be innocent, this should be made clear."
I hope everyone involved will act with the maximum restraint - John Reid.

Vehicles, including a white Transit van, have been removed from Alum Rock.
The eight are suspected of "the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism".
Home Secretary John Reid urged for restraint, but would not comment on the specific operation.
"I hope everyone involved will act with the maximum restraint. There is a major operation and investigation under way... there may be court proceedings."
A Home Office spokeswoman added: "This operation is a reminder of the real and serious nature of the terrorist threat we face."
The Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit ran the operation with the West Midlands Police, the Metropolitan Police and MI5.
In a statement, West Midlands Police asked for the "continued support and co-operation of the public".
"Our message to people living in the West Midlands is to remain vigilant," the statement added.



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