LONDON: British police arrested five men Tuesday on suspicion of terror offences in the town of Luton, northwest of London, in pre-planned raids.
The men, aged 35, 30, 24, 23 and 21, were arrested “on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism,” Scotland Yard police headquarters said.
They were arrested at five residential addresses in Luton and were taken to a central London police station where they remain in custody.
The arrests by officers from the Counter-Terrorism Command were a part of a pre-planned, intelligence-led operation, Scotland Yard said.
The men were arrested at houses in the Bury Park area, which has been home to a large Muslim Pakistani community since the 1970s. It is also home to Luton Central Mosque, one of the first purpose-built mosques in Britain.
The local Bedfordshire Police force said the arrests were made by unarmed officers.
“Full consideration has been given to treating those arrested, and especially their families, with appropriate respect for cultural and religious identity as far as is possible,” a spokeswoman said.
Searches are being carried out at the five houses and are expected to take at least a day. The families of those arrested have been advised to find alternative accommodation.
“There is no danger to other nearby residents,” the spokeswoman said.
Around 15 percent of the population of nearly 200,000 are Muslim.
Taimour Abdulwahab, who carried out Sweden’s first ever suicide attack when he activated a bomb in Stockholm in December 2010, was thought to have been radicalised in the commuter town.
Abdulwahab lived with his wife and three children in Luton after completing a sports psychology degree in the town.