British police arrested six suspects in London and shut off part of a busy highway near Birmingham in two apparently unrelated anti-terror swoops on Thursday – less than a month before the Olympics.
In coordinated dawns raid led by the intelligence agency MI5, armed police arrested three men in east London – home to the main Olympic stadium. A man and a woman were arrested from separate addresses in west London, while a third man was picked up from the street – also in west London.
Eight homes in west, east and north London and a business premises were searched. Police said the arrests were not linked to the Olympics or Paralympics, but the BBC reported they were “significant” and may be related to a possible plot involving Islamist extremists, with potential UK targets.
In an unrelated incident, police closed off part of the M6 – a major highway – near the city of Birmingham, around 200 km north of the British capital.
Police said the incident involved a passenger seen acting suspiciously on a coach, and did not discount the possibility that it could be terrorism-related. Initial reports said the passenger was seen pouring some kind of fluid into a bag which then started smoking onboard the coach.
Army bomb disposal personnel were at the scene, as were fire and ambulance services, who have reportedly set up decontamination units.