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Anzac security review after arrests

Published 18/04/2015

Anzac centenary commemorations are due to begin with a dawn service at Wellington Arch
Anzac centenary commemorations are due to begin with a dawn service at Wellington Arch

British police are reviewing security operations ahead of the centenary of the Anzac landings following a foiled alleged terror plot in Australia.

The annual Anzac Day ceremonies - commemorating Australian and New Zealand Army Corps' First World War battle in Gallipoli on April 25 - take on extra poignancy this year, marking the 100th year of the Turkish conflict.

Australians and New Zealanders in the UK traditionally observe the occasion by holding services in Westminster and at Hyde Park.

But concerns have been raised after five Australian teenagers were arrested this week on suspicion of preparing a terrorist attack as part of the Anzac Day celebrations in Melbourne.

In a statement tonight, Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said: "Following counter- terrorism arrests in Australia this weekend and allegations of attack planning against Anzac Day commemorations and police officers in Australia, we are reviewing security plans at related events in the UK.

"We already have protective security plans in place for major Anzac events in the UK but as a sensible precaution all forces have been asked to review security arrangements at related events to ensure they are safe and secure for the public and officers.

"While there is no information to suggest a specific threat to related events in the UK - and the current UK threat level remains unchanged - the public should remain vigilant."

Australia's government has raised the country's terror warning level in response to the domestic threat posed by supporters of the Islamic State group.

In September last year, the group's spokesman, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, issued a message urging attacks abroad, specifically mentioning Australia.

Next week's commemorations are due to begin with a dawn service at Wellington Arch, Hyde Park Corner, at 5am on Saturday, followed by a wreath-laying ceremony at the Cenotaph and a commemorative service at Westminster Abbey.

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