Police arrested five men early this morning in a dawn raid after receiving information they were plotting to harm the Pope.
The suspects were arrested by Scotland Yard at 5.45am at business premises in central London and are now being questioned by counter-terror detectives.
Searches are under way at various premises across the capital but Benedict XVI’s schedule in the city is currently continuing as planned.
His security was reviewed following the arrests but so far it has not been altered and he went ahead with a service and appearance in Twickenham, west London, this morning.
According to the BBC “The five men are 26, 27, 36, 40 and 50 years old. They were arrested in an armed operation at business premises where searches are continuing…”
Update 9:58 a.m.: Algerians, huh? The Telegraph is reporting it’s five “Muslim terrorists.” What a shock. I’m just surprised they’re not calling them five “youths.”
And Sky News is reporting they’re from Algeria and were hired to clean the street near where the Pope was scheduled to be.
Sky News crime correspondent Martin Brunt said he understood the men were Algerian nationals employed by the agency to work for Westminster City Council.
He said they were due to clean streets around the House of Commons, where the Pope is due to speak, prompting police to launch the operation to arrest them.
Update 10:12 a.m.: Just two months ago I wrote an awesomely awesome post asking “Is the Pope in Danger.” There seems to be good reason to say “Yes Matt he is.” If you’ll recall an influential Islamic publication called the Pope “evil” and urged Muslims to let their feelings for the Pope be shown. And we all know how radical Muslims let their feelings known. In short, they don’t journal about their feelings. They seem to blow things up and kill people.
Here’s the piece at the National Catholic Register that I wrote:
I’ve been saying recently that Pope Benedict XVI is heading into enemy territory in “Post-Christian” England. Sadly, I may be more right than I imagined.
A member of British Parliament says he fears violence at an open air mass with Pope Benedict XVI after an Islamic publication called Muslims to attend the Mass to convert Catholics and “tell the Pope in no uncertain terms what Muslims think of his evil slanders against the last Prophet of God and his message.”
I think it’s the “in no uncertain terms” that’s making some a little nervous. Oh, the same publication also called the Pope “evil.”