Terrorism arrests: four held after raids on London addresses
Four men held and six properties searched as part of 'big' anti-terror operation by police
FOUR men have been arrested in London as part of a "pre-planned" counter-terrorism operation carried out by the Metropolitan police. The men, who were arrested in separate raids on addresses in Whitechapel, Peckham and Westbourne Grove last night, are being held under the Terrorism Act 2000 on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.
Shots were fired towards a car near Tower Bridge during the operation, according to the Guardian. "Special ammunition designed to breach doors or burst tyres was fired at a car during a series of anti-terror raids across the capital," the paper reported.
Police are reported to have used 'Hatton rounds' - heavy gauge shotgun shells usually used to destroy locks. The ammunition consists of dense metal powder that will instantly disperse on impact, reducing the risk of injury or death.
The four men who were arrested are being held at a police station in south London, police said in a statement. Searches are being carried out at six addresses in the capital.
Alistair Gillies, 38, who witnessed one of the arrests, told The BBC: "I was just going out to try and get something to eat and walking back up Westbourne Grove towards Bayswater and I noticed that a police car had pulled across the road.
"There was probably in the region of about two dozen officers. The majority of them appeared to be plain clothes but they had on baseball caps with the checkerboard and police marking, apart from that, they were dressed in plain clothes."
Gillies said it appeared that "a great deal of planning and a great deal of resources" had been put into the police operation.
Sky News' defence correspondent Alistair Bunkall described last night's raids as "significant".
"Sometimes these arrests are made as a pre-emptive measure very early on in any planning for a terrorism operation, and sometimes they are made because the feeling is a terrorist attack may be imminent, but we haven't been given those sort of details yet," he said. "But S015 officers, from Counter Terrorism Command, and armed Met Police officers were involved, so it certainly was a big operation by the Met." ·