Six people, including a former police community support officer and a white Muslim convert, were arrested in a series of raids yesterday in connection with a suspected terrorist plot against potential targets in Britain.
Three brothers aged 18, 24 and 26 were arrested about a mile from the main Olympics site in east London but police said the planned operation was not linked to the Games or the Paralympics.
Two other men and a woman were arrested in west London. According to reports, one of the men was a white Muslim convert who has appeared in a YouTube video railing against Britain's role in Afghanistan and the royal family. Last year the same man named in reports appeared on a BBC documentary called My Brother The Islamist.
The 24-year-old was shot with a Taser at Abbey Road, Stratford, but did not need any hospital treatment, Scotland Yard said.
One of the brothers had been a police community support officer for more than two years until he resigned in September 2009.
“He was not deployed in a specialist or sensitive role,” said a Scotland Yard spokeswoman.
Neighbours said the family had been living there for more than a year.
A blue police tent covered the door of the house yesterday.
Stephen Maguire (23), who witnessed the operation from his bedroom, said: “I heard the biggest bang and I saw a cloud of smoke and torches going up at the windows,” he said. “It sounded like gunshots but they weren't.”
The 29-year-old man was arrested in a street in Ealing, west London, and another man, aged 21, and a woman of 30 were arrested at homes nearby.
Searches under the Terrorism Act were being carried out at eight homes around the city and at a business premise in east London. All those arrested were being questioned at a police station in southeast London.
The threat to the UK from international terrorism is currently rated substantial — the third highest of five levels. The rating is set by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre. Police declined to give details on any suspected targets before the intelligence-led operation yesterday but said that an attack was not imminent.