Student medic facing terror quiz

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Published: Wednesday 8th October 2014 by The News Editor

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A medical student is among four men being quizzed by counter-terror police on suspicion of being involved in a potentially “significant” Islamist terrorism plot.

One of the suspected extremists is 21-year-old Tarik Hassane, who lives near Ladbroke Grove in west London, the Press Association understands.

At least one of the suspects is believed to have travelled to Syria and one line of inquiry is to establish any possible links with Islamic State (IS), the extremist group behind the beheading of British aid worker Alan Henning.

Hassane and three others, aged 20 to 21, were arrested yesterday morning in a series of raids at addresses across London, during which one suspect was tasered by police.

Counter-terror officers believe the raids were an “early disruption” of what could have later turned into a “significant plot”, sources said.

In a conversation on social networking site Ask.fm, ” Tarik Hassane from Ladbroke” claims to be studying medicine in Sudan after failing to meet the grades for an offer to study at King’s College London.

The arrests come less than five weeks after the terror threat level in the UK was raised from substantial to severe, meaning a terrorist attack is ”highly likely”.

The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) raised the level against a backdrop of increasing concerns over h undreds of aspiring British jihadis travelling to Iraq and Syria to learn terrorist ”tradecraft”.

Fears heightened after IS posted a series of videos online showing the separate murders of US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and two British aid workers, David Haines and most recently Mr Henning.

Footage claiming to show Mr Henning’s murder appeared on the Internet last Friday, just d ays after the UK joined US-led air strikes against the terrorists in Iraq.

In addition, an apparent IS fighter with a British accent appeared unmasked in another film encouraging “brothers” in western countries to “rise up” and commit acts of terror in their home countries.

IS, led by fanatic Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi h as taken over large swathes of Iraq and Syria and attracted thousands of foreign jihadists to its cause, including around more than 500 Britons.

America’s Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) yesterday launched an appeal for the public’s help in identifying individuals who have travelled – or are planning to travel – overseas to engage in combat alongside terrorist organisations.

The law enforcement agency said it was also seeking information about the identity of an English-speaking man, with a North American accent, seen in an IS propaganda video released last month.

The FBI also repeated its claim that authorities “now know” the identity of the executioner claiming to have killed the four western hostages, including Mr Henning.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister demanded that former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg revealed what he knows of the terror group.

The appeal to Mr Begg, who had terror charges against him dropped last week, came after he said he believed he knew the identity of senior members of IS that held Mr Henning and others.

But he said he did not know the identity of the suspected murderer – who has been nicknamed “Jihadi John”.

A statement from Scotland Yard yesterday said all four men were arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism under the Terrorism Act 2000.

A number of residential addresses and vehicles were searched by specialist officers in west and central London as part of the investigation.

It added: “These arrests and searches are part of an ongoing investigation into Islamist-related terrorism.”

Under terrorism laws, police officers can hold the men for questioning for 48 hours before they have to apply to a magistrate to detain them for longer – but they could be held without charge for up to 14 days.

Commenting on the arrests, Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said: ” It is one of a series of arrests that we have had over the last few weeks which taken together for me confirm that the drum beat around terrorism has changed. It’s a more intense drumbeat – we are having to be more interventionist and a lot of it is linked back to Syria and Iraq.”

Published: Wednesday 8th October 2014 by The News Editor

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