14 More Terror Arrests in Britain

***Updated***

From Sky News:

An Islamic school is being searched as part of an anti-terror operation which saw armed officers raid a packed restaurant and arrest a group of customers.

Scotland Yard said police are scouring Jameah Islameah, an independent school for boys aged 11 to 16 in Mark Cross, east Sussex, but no arrests have been made.

The search follows a raid by dozens of armed officers on a Chinese restaurant and the arrest of 12 customers.

Two more people were also arrested when a series of addresses in south, east and north London were raided during the same operation.

Mehdi Belyani, 40, the owner and manager of the restaurant in Borough Road, said a group of around 15 men and two small boys had come in for dinner last night..

He said they were aged between 25 and 35, some were wearing Islamic dress and they were talking quietly and acting normally while they ate.

Mr Belyani, who is of Iranian origin, said more than 50 police officers later burst in and were questioned while other customers were kept inside.

“The police stayed for more than two hours talking to the group one by one,” he said.

“The men were very calm and I could not hear what was being said but my other customers were all very shocked.”

Police said the 14 – believed to be young British Muslsims of Pakistani origin – were arrested after surveillance by Scotland Yard’s Anti-Terrorist Branch and MI5.

They are being held for the alleged recruitment, training and encouraging of people to take part in terrorist acts.

The arrests are not linked to the recent alleged plot to blow up transatlantic airliners, or the July 7 bombings in London.

Meanwhile, in a separate operation, two men were arrested in anti-terror raids in Manchester.

The arrests are linked to raids that took place on August 23 when one man was held and a house was searched.

He is still being held by police under anti-terrorism legislation.

More from the UK Telegraph:

The men were arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000 after months of surveillance involving Scotland Yard’s Anti-Terrorist Branch and MI5.

They are now in custody at Paddington Green high security police station.

Security sources said the investigation was focusing on the alleged recruitment and radicalisation of young British Muslims and the facilitation of training for terrorism purposes.

It is not yet clear whether the men were part of one group, or disparate groups who knew each other.

Police have only just started the searches and have not ruled out the possibility that the investigation may take them elsewhere once their inquiries are complete.

A spokesman for Home Secretary John Reid said he had been “kept fully informed of the developments about the counter-terror operation”.

Peter Clarke, head of the Ant-Terrorist Branch, said this weekend that police were trying to keep tabs on “thousands” of people directly or indirectly involved in terrorism in the UK.

About 70 counter terrorism investigations are currently ongoing.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Anti-Terrorist Branch have arrested 14 men under the Terrorism Act 2000 in a pre-planned, intelligence-led operation.

“The arrests in south and east London follow many months of surveillance and investigation in a joint operation involving the Anti-Terrorist Branch, Special Branch and the Security Service.”

Update: Captain Ed has some interesting information about the Islamic school involved in the investigation:

The school only had nine students at its last inspection, which seems very noteworthy considering the size of the facility. The school advertises to Islamic centers as a central instruction point for leaders of Muslim communities. Given the size of the facility, either Jameah Islameah has fallen on hard times — which seems unlikely given the current state of affairs — or it served as something more than an instructional facility

In fact, the BBC’s sources say that the arrests involved the operation of training camps for terrorists. It’s the same kind of training that British investigators suspected the July 7 bombers of undergoing but were never able to establish when or where it happened. While investigators so far have found no connection between the school and the July 7 plotters, they apparently have taken that theory seriously enough to look for similar training centers for would-be terrorists.

Check out Mary Katharine for a lot more information.

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