Two men held in London and Birmingham after joint operation by police and MI5 amid heightened fears of terrorist attack
Counter-terrorism officials believe they have foiled another plot to attack the UK with two men arrested by armed police and investigations continuing on Wednesday.
The arrests, described as “significant”, took place on Tuesday afternoon, the first in north London and the second in Birmingham. The alleged plot is believed to have been inspired by Islamic State propaganda and one of the more serious seen this year, investigators believe.
Counter-terrorism officials believe the UK has seen nine plots foiled since March 2017, before Tuesday’s arrests, and 21 foiled since 2013. The threat of attack is at its worst level ever, believes the MI5 director general, Andrew Parker.
The disrupted plots come on top of the five attacks since March 2017 which escaped detection leading to four atrocities in London and Manchester, and an attack on a London train failing to cause any fatalities because the bomb failed to detonate properly.
Police chiefs assessed that armed officers were needed to make the arrests, which were the result of a decision by counter-terrorism police and MI5, the domestic security agency, after a joint operation.
The two men, aged 21 and 20, were arrested on suspicion of being involved in the commission, preparation and instigation of terrorism contrary to section 40 of the Terrorism Act 2000.