Six Arrested in Alleged Threat to Pope

London, Sep 17 (PTI):
Five people, suspected to be Arabs, were arrested here on Friday over an alleged plot to harm Pope Benedict XVI, now on a state visit to the UK.

The five men, in the age group of 26-50, were picked up by Scotland Yard on Friday morning in central London and were being questioned by counter-terror detectives.

Searches are underway at their properties across the capital but the Pope's schedule in the city is currently continuing as planned.

The five were arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism under the Terrorism Act 2000.

The men are not British nationals, the BBC reported. Some reports claimed they could be of Arab origin.

In a statement from Scotland Yard, the Metropolitan Police said that the five men had been arrested in an operation launched by officers from the force's Counter-Terrorism Command.

The five men are 26, 27, 36, 40 and 50 years old, it police said. Initial searches have not uncovered any hazardous items, it said.

In the statement, the force said: "Today's arrests were made after police received information following initial inquiries by detectives. A decision was made to arrest the five men.

"Following today's arrests policing arrangements for the papal visit were reviewed and we are satisfied our current policing plan remains appropriate. The itinerary has not changed. There is no change to the UK threat level."

Pope's security was reviewed following the arrests but so far it has not been altered and he went ahead with a service and appearance in Twickenham, west London.

Pope's press spokesman Father Frederico Lombardi said the Vatican was "totally confident" in Scotland Yard and the ability of its officers, the BBC said.

A ring of steel costing up to 1.5 million pounds has been put in place to protect the Pope throughout his four-day visit to Britain.

He travels in a 15-strong cavalcade of vehicles from city to city and elite marksmen, some on rooftops, are guarding his every step.

As he visited St Mary's University College in Twickenham, everyone - including monks and nuns - went through security scanners.

The arrests came after the wife of the Commons Speaker joined the chorus of secularist attacks on the Pope as her husband prepares to welcome him to Parliament.

Sally Bercow left her husband John red-faced hours before he will have to welcome Benedict XVI to the House of Commons this afternoon.

British Police Arrest Sixth Man over Suspected Terror Plot 

London, Sep 17 (IANS/DPA): British police said a sixth man was arrested Friday in connection with a suspected terrorist plot to attack Pope Benedict XVI in London during his ongoing state visit to Britain.

Earlier, Scotland Yard said they were questioning five men of North African origin after dawn raids on business premises in central London.

The men were working as street cleaners for a contractor employed by Westminster Council in an area of central London visited by the pope Friday.

However, searches at the depot where they worked, and their homes in north and east London, had not, so far, revealed any weapons or suspicious materials.

Anti-terrorism officers arrested the men after a tip-off about suspicious activity late Thursday.

The security alert led to a review of the massive security operation surrounding the pontiff.


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Comment on this article

  • Harold D'cunha, Mangalore, India

    Sat, Sep 18 2010

    Dear Stalin, I am sure you remember the histroy very well. In 1978, then the Pope late John Paul II was attacked by Mr.Ali from Turkey. Christian world got shocked but Church forgive him. After the recovery from the hospital the Pope John Paul II, went to his prison and met Mr.Ali.
    Forgive him and prayed together. This is what he has left the lesson.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse


    Fri, Sep 17 2010


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