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Armed British police arrest man with knives near May’s office


Armed British police arrest man with knives near May’s office

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LONDON – Armed British police officers arrested a man carrying knives near Prime Minister Theresa May’s office in London today on suspicion of preparing an act of terrorism.

The 27-year-old man was detained by counter-terrorism officers on Parliament Street, a stone’s throw from the parliament building, May’s Downing Street office and government departments, during a stop-and-search in an on-going security operation, police said. 

A Western security source said the man, from London, was on the radar of counter-terrorism officers and the domestic intelligence agency MI5 before his arrest.

No one was injured in the incident, and May was not at Downing Street at the time because she was campaigning in northern England for a June 8 parliamentary election.

A source familiar with the investigation said the suspect had been arrested as part of an intelligence-led operation.

The knife incident came just over a month after a British-born convert to Islam ploughed a car into pedestrians on nearby Westminster Bridge, killing four people, before stabbing to death a police officer in the grounds of parliament. The man responsible, Khalid Masood, was shot dead at the scene.

That attack prompted police to review security around parliament and led to a greater visible armed police presence.

“Detectives from the Counter Terrorism Command are continuing their investigation, and as a result of this arrest there is no immediate known threat,” police said in a statement about Thursday’s incident.

“The man . . . was arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon and on suspicion of the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism. Knives have been recovered from him. 

Two hours after the man was detained, police reopened streets in the Westminster district, indicating they saw no further public risk.

“I am aware that an individual has been arrested in Whitehall today and that that individual has been arrested on the basis of a terrorism charge,” May told Sky News.

“Obviously I can’t say much more about it because it is an on-going police investigation but I think it shows that our police and our intelligence and security services are on the alert as they always are, looking to keep us safe and secure.” (Reuters)