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Five held by anti-terror police in Birmingham and Gatwick

55Five people have been arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences as part of an investigation

launched after the recent attacks in Paris and Brussels, West Midlands Police say.

Three men, aged 26, 40 and 59, and a 29-year-old woman, were arrested in Birmingham on

Thursday night.

A fourth man, 26, was arrested at Gatwick Airport in the early hours of Friday. All five are from


Whitehall officials described the arrests as “significant”.

Police say they worked with MI5 and Belgian and French authorities in an operation “to address

any associated threat to the UK following the attacks in Europe”.

They said there was no risk to the public at any time and they had no information to suggest an

attack in the UK was being planned.

‘Extensive investigation’

Police said all those arrested are being held in the West Midlands on suspicion of being

concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.

Officers are also searching a number of properties in Birmingham.

Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale, who leads on counter-terrorism for the force, said the

operation was part of an “extensive investigation”, and the arrests were “pre-planned and


The BBC’s security correspondent Frank Gardner said Whitehall officials described the operation

as “significant”.

These were the first arrests in the UK directly connected with the investigation into the attacks in

Brussels in March and Paris last November, he said.

The primary co-operation was between West Midlands Police and MI5, with input from the

French and Belgian authorities, officials told our correspondent.