Five Arrested in Britain Over 'Links to Paris And Brussels Attacks'

Brussels Airport
Members of the civil protection walk outside the damaged front of Brussels Airport in Zaventem, Belgium, March 23, 2016. Five people have been detained on suspicion of preparing terrorist acts in Britain. Yorick Jansens/Getty

Five people have been arrested in the U.K. over suspected British links to the extremists who attacked Paris in November 2015 and Brussels last month.

Four people were arrested in Birmingham, where British police believe one member of the European radical cell visited months before the massacre in Paris that killed 130 people, The Guardian reports.

A fifth arrest was made at London's Gatwick airport. All five were detained on suspicion of preparing terrorist acts and British police said the arrests followed an investigation involving Belgian and French authorities.

Officials stressed there was "no information to suggest an attack in the U.K. was being planned."

As they announced the arrests in Birmingham and at Gatwick, West Midlands police said it had been working with Belgian and French authorities to "address any associated threat to the U.K. following the attacks in Europe."

Four people—three men aged 26, 40 and 59 and a 29-year-old woman—were arrested in Birmingham on Thursday night and a 26-year-old man was arrested at Gatwick in the early hours of Friday.

All five have been arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.

Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale said: "This action forms part of an extensive investigation by West Midlands counterterrorism unit, together with the wider counterterrorism network, MI5 and international partners including Belgian and French authorities to address any associated threat to the UK following the attacks in Europe."

The arrests were pre-planned and intelligence-led and there was no risk to the public at any time and there was no information to suggest an attack in the U.K. was being planned, Beale added.

All five are being held in the West Midlands, where they are being questioned. Police are also searching a number of properties in Birmingham as part of the investigation.

The arrests come five months after the November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 130 people and less than a month after the March 22 suicide bombings in Brussels in which 32 people died. According to Belgian and French investigators, the same terror cell was behind both attacks.

The links between that cell and U.K.-based jihadis has been under investigation for several months.

Five Arrested in Britain Over 'Links to Paris And Brussels Attacks' | World