Saturday, September 02, 2006


British security forces arrested 14 people in a terror sweep they say is unrelated to the foiled sky-terror plot, the BBC reports. The arrests appear to focus on a madrassa in East Sussex:

Armed police have arrested 14 men following anti-terror raids in London, including 12 arrests at a restaurant in the Borough area.

Two people were held elsewhere in the city in what police said was an intelligence-led operation.

Police said the arrests were not connected to the alleged transatlantic jet bomb plot or the 7 July attacks.

An Islamic school near Tunbridge Wells has also been searched as part of the same operation.

The Jameah Islameah property, on Catt's Hill near Crowborough, East Sussex, is an Islamic teaching facility for boys aged between 11 and 16.

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.

The suspects were arrested as they ate at a halal Chinese restaurant, after having dozens of police officers come into the place looking specifically for them. One has to wonder why 12 of the 14 suspects had gathered in one place, and a public place at that, when the school would have provided more security -- if their meeting had a specific purpose. Likewise, if the police assumed that it did, was it a good idea to confront them in a public place, or should they have waited until they had them in more secure surroundings? It doesn't seem like an accident that so many security officers just happened to be available as backup at that Chinese restaurant.

The British have scored a number of recent successes in fighting the Islamists, if this proves to be correct. They appear to have made significant intelligence inroads into the radical Muslim community. It would be enlightening to know their methods.

UPDATE: Allahpundit at Hot Air questions the timing, too.

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