Wave of Syria-related counter-terror arrests across England

© Eric Gaillard
Four people have been arrested in West Yorkshire in a Syria-related counterterrorism probe, while another individual was arrested for suspected terrorism in east London in an unrelated investigation, police have said.

Officers took two Sheffield men, aged 40 and 36, into custody Wednesday morning under Section 5 of the Terrorism Act, which refers to the preparation to commit an terrorist attack. The men are being questioned at a police station in West Yorkshire, the North East Counter Terrorism Unit has revealed.

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A 55-year-old woman and a 44-year-old man were also arrested in the West Yorkshire town of Batley on suspicion of fundraising for terrorism, an offense covered by the Terrorism Act of 2000. They are also being questioned at the same West Yorkshire police station, while five properties in Sheffield, Batley and Dewsbury are being searched as part of the investigation.

Detective Chief Superintendent Clive Wain, head of the North East Counter Terrorism Unit, said: “We understand that people may be concerned following today’s arrests, however we would like to reassure communities that today’s activity is as a result of an ongoing investigation which is intelligence-led.”

“There is no evidence to suggest that communities are at risk.”

In an unrelated arrest, police have detained a 23-year-old man under section 41 of the Terrorism Act on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorism in east London on Wednesday morning. Officers are searching the address where the man was arrested, as well as another nearby property.

An estimated 338 people were arrested for suspected terrorism offences in 2014/15 – an increase on the 254 detained in the previous year. Just under half (46 percent) of the arrests were Syria-related, according to figures released by the Metropolitan Police.