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Suspected Terrorists Arrested in Pope Assassination Plot


Police have arrested six suspected Islamist terrorists in London over an alleged plan to assassinate the Pope.

(AP Photo/Sang Tan)

In raids early Friday morning in London, UK police apprehended five terrorist suspects based on intelligence tips received overnight.

The suspects -- who vary in age from 26 to 50 and different nationalities -- were arrested by officers from Scotland Yard's Counter Terrorism Command on suspicion of "the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism."

According to the Telegraph, the five men were picked up from a trash depot about a mile from Hyde Park.  Pope Benedict XVI is due to hold a public prayer vigil in the park Saturday evening.  Posing as street cleaners, the men would've been able to seamlessly move through the large crowds expected to gather to see the Holy Father.

The suspects were taken to a central London police station for questioning.  So far, searches of the trash depot's premises have not uncovered any evidence of bombs or other hazardous items.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said the arrests were made after they received “information” and added: “Following initial inquiries by detectives a decision was made to arrest the five men.”

Pope Benedict XVI’s security arrangements were reviewed following the arrests and Scotland Yard said “we are satisfied that our current policing plan remains appropriate. The itinerary has not changed.”

There was no change to the terrorism threat level which remains at “severe” meaning that a terrorist attack is highly likely.

The Pope is currently in London as part of an international visitation trip to England, Scotland and the West Midlands.

Update: This afternoon, UK authorities confirmed that a sixth additional arrest was made related to the case.  Fox News has the details:

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