Reuters : Police search 17 homes

Monday, September 04, 2006

Police search 17 homes

September 4, 2006

LONDON (Reuters) - Police investigating an alleged terrorist training network searched 17 homes in the capital on Sunday and were granted more time to question 14 suspects, they said.

The police also searched a sprawling Islamic school in southern England for a second day.

A court gave the police until Wednesday to question three of the 14 people arrested this weekend as part of the investigation, the police said in a statement.

The police were given permission to detain the remaining 11 until Friday, by which time they must decide to charge or release them or seek more time to question them.

"Searches are being carried out at 17 residential premises in south, east and north London," a police spokeswoman said.

A police source said on Saturday the operation focussed on the suspected training and recruitment of terrorists.

The Guardian said in its Monday edition that police were probing "an alleged network of terror training camps in Britain".

It said some of the arrested men had been under surveillance for months, including when they spent time at an alleged terror camp in the scenic Lake District in northwestern England.

The men are being questioned under controversial new laws which came into effect this year banning the glorification of acts of terrorism, The Guardian said.

Twelve of the men were held at a packed Chinese restaurant on Friday night as part of what police said was a "pre-planned, intelligence-led operation" that followed months of surveillance.

Police said in February they had found evidence of terrorist training camps in Britain while other reports have spoken of militants going for adventure training to forge closer ties.

Scotland Yard said the London operation was not related to the arrests of more than 20 people last month over an alleged plot to blow up U.S.-bound airliners using liquid explosives.

Eleven British Muslims have been charged with conspiracy to murder over that suspected plot. Eight of them are due to appear at a hearing in a London court on Monday.