5 arrested in dawn swoop over threat to harm the Pope in UK

The five men, aged between 26 to 50 years of age, were picked up by Scotland Yard this morning in central London and were being questioned by counter-terror detectives.
All five are street cleaners in Westminster, and worked for Veolia Environment Services, a major contract cleaning company that does work for Westminster Council.

The men were picked up after counter-terrorism officers received intelligence of a potential threat this morning as they prepared to go on shift.The men are not British nationals, the BBC reported. Other reports said the men are of North African origin, and might be Algerian.

Searches were underway at their properties across the capital but the Pope's schedule in the city is currently continuing as planned.The five were arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism under the Terrorism Act 2000.
In a statement from Scotland Yard, the Metropolitan Police said that the five men had been arrested in an operation launched by officers from the force's Counter-Terrorism Command.

The five men are 26, 27, 36, 40 and 50 years old, police said. Initial searches have not uncovered any hazardous items, it said.In the statement, the force said: "Today's arrests were made after police received information following initial inquiries by detectives. A decision was made to arrest the five men".

"Following today's arrests policing arrangements for the papal visit were reviewed and we are satisfied our current policing plan remains appropriate. The itinerary has not changed. There is no change to the UK threat level."

Pope's security was reviewed following the arrests but so far it has not been altered and he went ahead with a service and appearance in Twickenham, west London.Pope's press spokesman Father Frederico Lombardi said the Vatican was "totally confident" in Scotland Yard and the ability of its officers, the BBC said.

A ring of steel costing up to 1.5 million pounds has been put in place to protect the Pope throughout his four-day visit to Britain.He travels in a 15-strong cavalcade of vehicles from city to city and elite marksmen, some on rooftops, are guarding his every step.
As he visited St Mary's University College in Twickenham, everyone - including monks and nuns - went through security scanners.

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