UK foils ‘active terror plot’ after parliament arrest

Updated April 29, 2017

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Tourists take photographs as armed police officers stand guard outside the Houses of Parliament on Friday.—AFP
Tourists take photographs as armed police officers stand guard outside the Houses of Parliament on Friday.—AFP

LONDON: British police said on Friday they had arrested six people as part of an active plot, the day after a knifeman was arrested near parliament in a separate counter-terrorism operation.

Just weeks after the attack on the Houses of Parliament that left five people dead and scores injured, London is once again on high alert as Britain prepares for a snap election on June 8.

“Yesterday was an extraordinary day in London,” Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said.

“I wanted to reassure the public that this increased level of terrorist activity is being matched by our action.... We are making arrests on a near daily basis.” A woman in her twenties was shot on Thursday evening when armed police raided a property in north London as part of a counter-terrorism investigation, firing CS gas as they entered.

Six people have been arrested as part of the probe, while the woman — who is also suspected of involvement — remains in a serious but stable condition in hospital.

Hours earlier, a 27-year-old man was arrested near parliament on suspicion of terrorism offences and possession of knives, in what police confirmed had also been an unrelated but ongoing investigation. Media reports said he was a British national who was born overseas and grew up in London, but police declined to confirm the details until and if he was charged. “Due to these arrests that have been made yesterday, in both cases I believe we have contained the threats that they posed,” Basu said.

Asked if police had foiled an active plot, he said: “Yes.”

Britain’s national terror threat level has been at “severe”, meaning an attack is highly likely, since August 2014 — and remained unchanged after the attack on parliament on March 22.

Published in Dawn, April 29th, 2017