London: Launching a fierce Olympics security drive, British cops on Thursday conducted well-planned intelligence-led operations across the city, nabbing six suspects, including one woman.
The early morning swoop by the counter-terrorism squad and MI-5, was a result of a meticulously planned action, that involved weeks of surveillance.
Even though the officials claimed that the operation was not linked at all to the Olympics starting July 27, yet the anti-terror raids were carried across the regions including the ones near Olympics sites.
Moreover, three out of the six suspects, were nabbed from Newham, the London borough which contains the Olympic Park.
"Today's operation in London is not linked to the Olympic and Paralympic games," Scotland Yard said in a statement.
Police didn't identify the suspects, who range in age from 18 to 30.
Scotland Yard confirmed it had previously employed one of the men as a community support officer, a law enforcement worker who patrols the streets but does not have powers of arrest. The department said he had served between 2007 and 2009, when he resigned, and had not been involved in any sensitive work.
Police said all the suspects have been taken to a southeast London police station to be questioned. They can be held for questioning for 14 days before they must be charged or released.
Just hours after the anti-terror raids, another terror alert led to evacuation of 48 passengers from a coach and the closure of the M6 toll motorway for seven hours.
A passenger mistook a cigarette that caused fumes, for a bomb and raised the alert. Following which, the cops armed with sniffer dogs, swooped on the bus. But after four hours of search, police confirmed that the area was safe.
A police spokesperson said, "The M6 Toll carriageways were closed in both directions, the coach was directed to the hard shoulder of the motorway and armed officers calmly evacuated passengers with their full support and co-operation".
"It all just took off, ambulances left right and centre and armed police in black caps”
"Following an initial assessment, we can confirm that no-one has been injured and that there is no danger to passengers at the scene or any other travellers who were on the motorway at that time.
"We are also not treating anyone as a suspect."
Police clarified that the incident was not related to terrorism.
The current threat level in Britain is classed as Substantial, which means that a terrorist attack is a strong possibility.
The five levels of threat are: Critical - an attack is expected imminently; Severe - an attack is highly likely; Substantial - an attack is a strong possibility; Moderate - an attack is possible but not likely; and Low - an attack is unlikely.
With Agency Inputs
First Published: Thursday, July 05, 2012, 16:39