Monday 20 November 2017

Woman shot and six arrested as police foil active terror plot

A woman is surrounded by police while being treated at the scene in Harlesden Road, north London. Photo credit: PA/PA Wire
A woman is surrounded by police while being treated at the scene in Harlesden Road, north London. Photo credit: PA/PA Wire

Hayden Smith London

An active terror plot has been foiled after police launched an armed raid in which a woman was shot and injured.

Six people were arrested after a team of specialist firearms officers stormed an address in Willesden, north London, on Thursday night.

The activity came hours after officers detained a man carrying a bag of knives in Whitehall, close to Downing Street, as part of a separate, unconnected investigation.

A woman in her 20s who was shot during the north London operation remains under police guard after being taken to hospital in a serious but stable condition.

Elite armed officers carried out a "specialist entry" into a terraced property in Harlesden Road shortly before 7pm on Thursday.

Police fired CS gas into the address, which had been under observation as part of a current counter-terrorism operation.

Neighbours recalled hearing "at least six" shots and screaming as police entered the address.

Ruth Haile, who lives in the road, said she heard shots and saw an injured woman being treated.

"She shouted 'Don't touch me, my body, don't touch my dress'," she said.

Alexandra Sabanov, a mother-of-one who lived next door to the raided house, saw officers with "gas masks and snipers".

"We heard 'bang, bang, bang, bang', went to the window and just saw a number of armed police just there with their guns pointing at our next-door neighbour's window."

She said the woman was "screaming really loud" and described her neighbours as a "standard Muslim couple" of whom she "never suspected anything at all".

Giving an update on the two operations, Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said yesterday: "Due to these arrests that have been made yesterday, in both cases I believe that we have contained the threats that they posed."

Pressed on whether they had foiled an active plot, he replied: "Yes."

Mr Basu said an armed entry was necessary "due to the nature of the intelligence that we were dealing with".

A total of six people were arrested in connection with the raid, including five at or near the address and one in Kent.

Two of the arrests were made when a man and a woman, both aged 28, returned to the address later that night, Mr Basu said. Searches are continuing at three London addresses.

It followed the arrest of a 27-year-old bearded man carrying a rucksack containing at least three knives in Whitehall.

It is understood the arrest was "intelligence-led".

It is understood the suspect's family had become concerned about his behaviour and reported him to the authorities several weeks ago, according to reports.

Irish Independent

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