British police raid London mosque
In North London, seven people have been arrested early Monday, after some 100 officers raided the Finsbury Park mosque. They were taken to a central London station for questioning. The raid was linked to investigations into the discovery of traces of the deadly poison ricin in an apartment in Wood Green, North London, earlier this month.
Streets were sealed off for half a mile around the scene while two helicopters trained spotlights on the mosque and two neighboring houses, which were also raided.
The mosque has attracted controversy over its connection with radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza. The 45-year-old cleric, who lost a hand and an eye while fighting in Afghanistan against the Soviet occupation, has become one of the most controversial Muslim figures in Britain. CNN reported that Hamza is not believed to be among those arrested.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said the operation had been "pre-planned and intelligence-led". A spokesman for Scotland Yard told BBC that the raid was carried out in the framework of extensive investigations into “terror activities” in the United Kingdom, and added, "Although this is linked to arrests made in north London, at this stage there is nothing to suggest chemical substances are on the premises."
The Metropolitan Police have also stressed that "the operation was not against the mosque itself or the many people who go there on a regular basis to pray".
"In particular we have not entered those parts of the mosque which are used for prayer," a spokesman said. (Albawaba.com)