6 ARRESTED IN BIRMINGHAM OVER TERROR
(- OPERATION PITSFORD - )
Six men have been arrested in Birmingham as part of a large intelligence-led counter-terrorism operation, police said on Monday 09/19/2011.
The men were detained at or near their homes overnight on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism in the UK.
A spokeswoman for West Midlands police said the men, aged between 25 and 32, were taken into custody by unarmed officers in the Moseley, Sparkbrook, Sparkhill, Ward End and Balsall Heath areas of Birmingham between 11.30pm on Sunday and 1am on Monday.
The spokeswoman also confirmed that a 22-year-old woman from Saltley, Birmingham, had been arrested at 6.30am on suspicion of failing to disclose information contrary to the Terrorism Act 2000.
The suspects are being held for questioning at an unnamed police station in the West Midlands police area, the spokeswoman added, and specialist police teams are now searching their homes and seven other properties in Birmingham (see also - Birmingham 09.06.09)
In a brief statement, West Midlands police's assistant chief constable for security, Marcus Beale, said: "The operation is in its early stages so we are unable to go into detail at this time about the nature of the suspected offences. "However, I believe it was necessary to take action at this time in order to ensure public safety" he added.
The nature of the suspected offences has not been disclosed but there has been a heavy police presence in the city due to the Liberal Democrats' autumn conference taking place at Birmingham's International Convention Centre.
It is understood the investigation relates to suspected Islamist extremism, but it is not thought an attack or threat was imminent.
* Four out of the six suspects, identified as (1) Irfan Nasser, 30, (2) Rahin Ahmed, 25, (3) Irfan Khalid, 26, and (4) Ashik Ali, 26, and were charged, on Sunday 09/25/2011,with plotting terrorist acts and with involvement in a terror-bomb plot. The two others Ashik Ali's brother Bahader Ali, 28, and Mohammed Rizwan, 32, were charged with lesser accounts of failing to disclose information, the police said. Bahader Ali was also charged with terrorist fundraising.
Irfan Nasser and Ashik Ali, who already recorded farewell martyrdom tapes, are alleged to have planned a bombing campaign; stated an intention to be a suicide bomber; collected money for terrorism; made or helped others make a bomb; and recruited others for terrorism. They are also accused of traveling to Pakistan, in 12/2010, for terrorism training including bomb-making, weapons and poison-making, as well as making a martyrdom film, police said.
British authorities believe it was while they were in Pakistan that they recorded the martyrdom tapes, a source made aware of details of the investigation told CNN.
They were involved in planning between Dec. 25, 2010 and Sept. 19 of this year to prepare or help others prepare to commit acts of terrorism, the indictment said.
Rahim Ahmed is accused of helping others travel to Pakistan for terrorism training, collecting money for terrorism and investing and managing terrorist funds, police said.
A seventh Birmingham man, aged 20, who was arrested, on Thursday 09/22/2011, is still being questioned, officers said. The seventh suspect, identified as Mujahid Hussain, was charged on Friday 09/29/2011, with helping fund the plan and providing information of “material assistance”.
* Four men from Birmingham have been charged, on Friday 11/18/2011, with terrorism offences. A West Midlands Police spokesman said: "These charges are in connection with Operation – Pitsford” (see - Birmingham 11.18.11).
* The trial of three of the defendants Irfan Nasser, Irfan Khalid and Ashik Ali began on Monday 10/22/2012. Prosecution lawyer Brian Altman told a jury on Monday that Irfan Khalid and Ashik Ali and Irfan Naseer, were central players in a plan to mount a terrorist attack 'on a scale potentially greater than the London bombings in July 2005' (see - London 7/7). Rahim Ahmed has already pleaded guilty to supporting terrorism. He has not yet been sentenced.
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