Two Algerian men charged with involvement in the al-Qaeda terrorist group are being held in custody. They were arrested in Leicestershire last year.
Baghdad Meziane, aged 37, from Leicester, has been charged with directing al-Qaeda, inciting an act of terrorism abroad, membership of al-Qaeda, a restricted organization, and four charges relating to the financing of terrorism.
In addition, Brahim Benmerzouga, aged 30, also from Leicester, has been charged with membership of al-Qaeda, four charges relating to financing of terrorism, possession of an article for the purposes of terrorism and possession of racially inflammatory material for distribution.
They appeared before Judges in Leicester on Thursday and are to be held in custody until January 24.
BBC reports that, in addition, police arrested 11 men in Leicester on Thursday during raids on a number of houses throughout the city. Police sources said the arrests are not directly linked to the September 11 attacks in the U.S., and were not made at the request of the FBI. Leicestershire police said eight men were arrested on Thursday under anti-terrorism legislation, along with three men detained under the Immigration Act 1971. The men currently remain in custody in Leicestershire.
The French radio station Europe 1 said that the arrests were linked to investigations into planned attacks by Islamic militants in France.
Since the attacks on New York and Washington, British intelligence has been comprising a list of Islamic radicals, some linked to al-Qaeda, who are regarded as posing a security threat to Britain and other countries.
According to a Leicestershire police spokesperson "People in parts of Leicester may see additional police activity and experience some disruption to their normal lifestyle over the next couple of days. "We hope they will bear with us and continue to show us the support that we have been receiving”. "We must stress that there is no evidence to suggest any terrorist threat against Leicestershire or that people in Leicestershire are at any greater risk, however we would remind people to remain vigilant and report any suspicions to the police."
Police said a house in the capital was searched in connection with the terrorist operation in Leicester. A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said houses in northwest London were raided and searched. (Albawaba.com)