Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Terror arrests at UK nuke plant

Within hours of the announcement of the head of al-Qaeda having been killed the British authorities arrested five men close to the Sellafield nuclear site in north-west England and held them under the Terrorism Act.

Reports suggest the arrests were not intelligence led and that there was not yet any established connection with the al-Qaeda terror organisation, but it will heighten concerns of a possible revenge attack after America's most wanted has been dispatched.

The arrested men, of Bangladeshi origin, resided in London and are believed to have been detained after taking photographs of the site on the Cumbrian coast. While they were questioned, Scotland Yard then raided four homes in east London following information from Greater Manchester Police.

The arrests were made after Civil Nuclear Constabulary officers conducted a stop check on a vehicle close to the Sellafield site at around 16:30 BST [15:30 GMT] on Monday.

Sellafield has a bunker that stores about 100 tonnes of plutonium, which is enough to manufacture thousands of nuclear weapons. The site is responsible for decommissioning and reprocessing nuclear waste, and fuel manufacturing.

Last month whistleblowing website WikiLeaks released cables which detailed how 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed had vowed to "unleash a nuclear hellstorm" if Osama bin Laden was killed or captured.

There have been calls for tighter security at key locations following the killing of bin Laden. The official threat level for the UK remains at "severe", a stage below the maximum level of "critical", but the airline industry has moved to tighten security around potential targets.

Airport operator BAA, which runs Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen terminals as well as Heathrow, Gatwick and Southampton, said it was stepping up measures to protect passengers and staff. A spokesman said: "All of our airports are operating within a heightened security regime and we discuss these matters with Government on a regular basis." [BBC / Sky / CNN]

tvnewswatch, Beijing, China

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