British police arrested 14 men in two separate anti-terrorist operations on Saturday, September 2, hours after a top police official said police were keeping tabs on thousands of British Muslims for what he said involvement and support of terrorism.
Police said the fourteen men were arrested in south and east London in a "pre-panned, intelligence-led operation", Reuters reported.
The men were arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000 on suspicion of "the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism", police added.
Twelve men were nabbed at a halal Chinese restaurant in south London, according to the BBC News Online.
"It was surprising actually, because plenty of them suddenly came in all together. There were more than 50 or 60 of them (police officers)," the restaurant's owner, Madi Blyani, told the BBC.
"They suddenly came inside because they were suspicious of some of the customers, and they talked to them."
"They talked to them (for) more than one hour, two hours. And they arrested some of them."
Police also arrested two more people early Saturday in Manchester and had searched three houses in the area.
The police said the arrests followed many months of surveillance and investigation in a joint operation involving the police anti-terrorist branch and the security service.
Searches were being carried out at houses in south, east and north London, they said.
Police, however, said that the operations were not related to a foiled plot to blow up US-bound flights.
Eleven British Muslims have been charged of conspiracy to murder and planning acts of terrorism over the foiled plot while four people were accused of lesser offences.
Five people are still being questioned but have not been charged.
The arrests come just hours after a top police officer said that police were keeping watch on thousands of British Muslims for suspicion of involvement and support of terrorism.
"All I can say is that our knowledge is increasing and certainly in terms of broad description, the numbers of people who we have to be interested in are into the thousands," Peter Clarke, the head of London police's anti-terrorist branch, told the BBC.
Clarke said he was referring to "not just terrorist or attackers".
"But the people who might be tempted to support or encourage," he added.
The Independent has recently reported that Britain's internal intelligence agency, MI5, and police were spying on 8,000 people through information gathered from colleges, mosques, internet websites and agents on suspicion of being Al-Qaeda sympathizers and future terrorists.
A recent poll has showed that the majority of Britons believe that Prime Minister Tony Blair's foreign policy has made their country more of a target for terrorists.
An open letter by 38 British Muslim organizations blaming Blair's foreign policy for giving "ammunitions" to terrorists has been criticized by the government and some politicians last month as "dreadful misjudgment."
Source:Islamonline.netGüncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16