News World news Pope Benedict XVI Pope's visit: Six held by counter-terror police hours before historic address
By VIKRAM DODD, SAM JONES, RICHARD NORTON-TAYLOR AND JOHN HOOPER - THE GUARDIAN
Added: Sat, 18 Sep 2010 04:29:43 UTC
Arrests of London street cleaners under Terrorism Act 2000 made on basis of 'overheard conversation'
Pope Benedict on his way to the Houses of Parliament after meeting the Archbishop of Canterbury. Photograph: Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images
Police arrested six men today over an alleged terrorist plot against the pope hours before he delivered one of his trip's key addresses to four former prime ministers and hundreds of parliamentarians and religious leaders in Westminster Hall.
Five London street cleaners were arrested at gunpoint by counter-terrorist officers in a dawn raid at the depot where they worked in Westminster, London. The sixth man was arrested this afternoon in north London.
Searches by officers at up to 10 addresses were continuing tonight, but no equipment linked to bomb-making or anything that could obviously be used to stage a terrorist attack was recovered.
Some of the men arrested are believed to be of Algerian heritage. They were being held and questioned by detectives who are also trying to establish their identities.
Security sources described the arrests as "precautionary" and Scotland Yard officers are understood to be bracing themselves for criticism if their suspicions are unfounded and the men are released.
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