British police have seized a large quantity of bomb-making material and arrested
eight men in breaking up what officials say was a suspected international terrorist
Police say there were raids on 24 addresses in and around London early Tuesday
in one of Britain's biggest anti-terrorism operations since the 2001 attacks
against the United States.
The chief anti-terrorism officer of the Metropolitan Police, Peter Clarke,
said a raid in west London had found half a ton of ammonium nitrate, which
can be made into a bomb. He said police have arrested eight men, all British
citizens ranging in age from 17 to 32.
"Today's operation, which involved some 700 officers in total, is part of
continuing and extensive inquiries by police and the security service, into
alleged international terrorist activity," said the police official. "And I
must stress that the threat from terrorism remains very real."
Mr. Clarke did not comment on news reports that identified the arrested men
as suspected Islamic terrorists, but he did say British Muslim leaders had
"We in the police service know that the overwhelming majority of the Muslim
community are law abiding and completely reject all forms of violence," he
stressed. "We have a responsibility to all communities to investigate suspected
terrorist activity. Today, at both the local and national level, we have been
holding discussions with community leaders and other representatives, to address
any concerns they may have."
Britain has been on heightened terrorism alert for months, and the nation's
most senior police official, John Stevens, recently warned that a terrorist
attack on London is, as he put it, "inevitable."