Gatwick Airport
Gatwick Airport AP Photo - Sang Tan

5 arrested in Britain with suspected links to terrorism

FIVE people have been arrested on suspicion of terrorist offences - including one man who was detained at Gatwick airport - after an investigation involving MI5, Belgian and French authorities.

West Midlands Police said three men and a 29-year-old woman were arrested in Birmingham on Thursday night and a 26-year-old man was held at the airport in the early hours of Friday.

Officers were searching a number of properties in Birmingham as part of the ongoing investigation.

Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale, who leads on counter-terrorism for the West Midlands, said: "This action forms part of an extensive investigation by West Midlands Counter-Terrorism Unit, together with the wider counter-terrorism network, MI5 and international partners including Belgian and French authorities to address any associated threat to the UK following the attacks in Europe.

"The arrests were pre-planned and intelligence-led. There was no risk to the public at any time and there is no information to suggest an attack in the UK was being planned."

Police said all five were held "on suspicion of being concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism". They were being questioned at a police station in the West Midlands. The men arrested in Birmingham were aged 26, 40 and 59.

Police refused to give any further details beyond a statement on their website.

Belgian and French authorities have detained dozens of suspects in their investigations into the terrorist attacks on Brussels and Paris, which were both claimed by Isis.

Thirty-two people were killed in bomb blasts at Brussels airport and on a subway train in the city last month. A total of 130 victims were killed and hundreds wounded in Paris when suicide bombers and gunmen attacked a concert hall, a football stadium, restaurants and bars on the same night in November.

A spokesperson for the Belgian federal prosecutors office said they were unable to comment on the arrests.