An Islamic fundamentalist plot to allegedly bomb a London Christmas market has been foiled, after police raided an “Islamic community centre” and arrested a number of men, with claims one could be a Syrian migrant.
Armed police and MI5 were involved in the raids in Sheffield and Chesterfield, targeting a “bomb factory” above a chip shop and the Fatima Community Centre, also described as a mosque, where one suspect worked.
Army Bomb Disposal Deployed as Four ‘Islamist’ Terror Arrests Made in England https://t.co/Y5V8qlM3wM
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It is claimed the centre also has close links to the Emaan Trust, which is building a new mega-mosque in Sheffield.
Security sources have reportedly said the plot may have focused on Christmas markets in London and intelligence chiefs think an attack was “imminent” and “one or two bombs” were being manufactured, the Daily Mirror reports.
Tuesday’s arrests come on the one-year anniversary of the Islamic State-inspired attack on a Berlin Christmas market, which that killed 12 and injured over 50 more.
Just last week, Islamic State used social media to threaten “holiday” attacks in London and Christmas markets across Europe and America.
Bomb disposal teams were called to the chip shop in Chesterfield and a man, aged 31, was arrested in a separate raid in the Derbyshire town that day.
A neighbour told The Times: “It’s a Syrian family who lives there, they didn’t speak much. He definitely had children, he had a beard and he dressed trendy.
“He had two little kids, one was in a pushchair. His wife had a headscarf, they kept themselves to themselves, really.”
Islamic State Threatens Berlin, London, New York With ‘Holiday’ Attacks https://t.co/SgwCJPxjsP
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According to the Sheffield Star, three more men – aged 22, 36 and 41 – were arrested during a series of coordinated dawn raids at addresses across Sheffield in South Yorkshire.
Loud bangs were heard as police raided one of Sheffield address, with armed police thought to be present and the possible use of explosives to open the door by officers.
Later on Wednesday, around 5 pm, bomb disposal teams arrived Fatima Community Centre in Brunswick Road in the city and remained at the location into the evening.
All four men are being detained on suspicion of being concerned in the commission, preparation, or instigation of acts of terrorism under section 41 of the Terrorism Act of the year 2000.
Additional armed police will be patrolling the streets of South Yorkshire following the raids. David Hartley, assistant chief constable of South Yorkshire Police, told the Sheffield Star:
“We are working very closely with our colleagues in the North East Counter Terrorism Policing Unit with our shared commitment to find and tackle those that want to cause harm.
“I have further enhanced our armed reassurance to encourage life and business as usual.”