Former Gitmo detainee among 4 arrested in UK terror raids
London: A Pakistani-origin former Guantanamo Bay detainee was among four persons arrested on “suspicion of Syria-related terrorism offences” during raids in Britain today.
Moazzam Begg, who was held by the US government for nearly three years after being arrested in the Pakistani capital in February 2002 on suspicion of being a member of Al Qaeda, was among those held in West Midlands region early this morning.
West Midlands Police confirmed that Begg, 45, was being held on suspicion of attending a terrorist training camp and facilitating terrorism overseas, the Birmingham Mail reported.
“We can confirm that Moazzam Begg was arrested this morning. We are confirming this name as a result of the anticipated high public interest,” a spokesperson said.
The others arrested were a 44-year-old woman, her 20-year- old son and another 36-year-old man.
“All four arrests are connected. They were pre-planned and intelligence-led. There was no immediate risk to public safety,” Detective Superintendent Shaun Edwards said.
“We continue to urge anyone planning to travel to Syria to read the advice issued by the Foreign Office,” he said.
The four arrested persons were being held at a police station in West Midlands and three homes were searched by counter-terrorism police.
Vehicles and electronic equipment were taken away from the homes for forensic analysis.
Britain has been on alert since a video and pictures emerged earlier this month of a man suspected of being the country’s first suicide bomber in Syria.
Adbul Waheed Majeed allegedly drove a car into a jail in Aleppo and detonated a bomb on February 6. The family of the 41-year-old from West Sussex said they believed he was in Syria for humanitarian purposes.
Majeed was among an estimated 20 Britons believed to have been killed in the Syrian conflict.
Ministers have reportedly been told that around 250 of 400 Britain-based extremists who went to Syria to train and fight have returned to the UK and pose a security threat.