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Sixth arrest in 'Pope plot' probe

A sixth man is being questioned by counter-terrorism detectives investigating a suspected plot to attack the Pope.

Scotland Yard said the suspect, aged 29, was held by officers at a home in north London shortly before 2pm on Friday.

A spokesman said he was arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000 on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.

Police have been searching eight homes in north and east London and two business premises in central London, including a street cleaning depot.

Five street cleaners were arrested at gunpoint as armed officers swooped on their base as they prepared to start their shift shortly before 6am on Friday.

They work for Veolia Environmental Services, a contractor which employs 650 on-street staff to keep the streets of Westminster clean.

Searches of the depot and their homes in north and east London did not reveal any weapons or suspicious materials but senior detectives said they were compelled to act after a tip-off about suspicious activity..

The security alert led to a review of the huge police operation surrounding the visit of Benedict XVI, but his itinerary went ahead as planned. His spokesman said the Pope was informed of the arrests but remained "totally calm" and will continue to enjoy his trip.

The five suspects arrested earlier, aged 26, 27, 36, 40 and 50, were held on suspicion of preparing an act of terrorism under the Terrorism Act 2000. It is understood all five are of North African origin, including several from Algeria.

Senior officers said there was no information ahead of the visit to suggest any "specific group" wanted to attack the Pope. But they warned people not to underestimate the "passion and the fervour" the visit would bring.


From Belfast Telegraph