Twelve men have been arrested in a major counter-terrorism operation, it emerged this morning.
The men – five from Cardiff, four from Stoke and three from London – were detained on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism in the UK.
Police say the three suspects, aged between 17 and 28, were detained at approximately 5am this morning in the unarmed raids.
All men were arrested at or near their home addresses with the exception of one Stoke suspect who was at a domestic property in Birmingham.
Authorities are now conducting searches at all of the raided addresses plus one other residence in London with the suspects currently held at police stations in Central London, the North West and the West Midlands.
The operation is being led by DAC Stuart Osborne – Senior National Coordinator Terrorist Investigations, and coordinated from the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit. It also involves the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command, South Wales Police and Staffordshire Police.
Assistant Commissioner John Yates, national lead for counter terrorism policing, says: “This is a large scale, pre-planned and intelligence led operation involving several forces.
“The operation is in its early stages so we are unable to go into detail at this time about the suspected offences. However, I believe it was necessary at this time to take action in order to ensure public safety.”
The UK’s terror threat level is “severe”, the second-highest rating, meaning a terrorist attack is highly likely.