Scotland Yard arrested five street cleaners today over an alleged terrorist threat to the pope.A sixth conspirator was arrested at his home, later in the day (AP). Related
The men were arrested by armed officers in central London at 5.45am on the second day of the pope's visit.
Sources say the men are believed to be Muslim and that some of them are Algerian. A spokesperson for Westminster city council said they were working for Veolia Environmental Services, a contractor which employs 650 on-street staff to keep Westminster's streets clean. The suspects, aged 26, 27, 36, 40 and 50, were held under the Terrorism Act 2000 at business premises in the central London. They were taken to a nearby police station, where they will be interviewed by detectives.
An assessment of the intelligence judged it to be so severe that police needed to disrupt the alleged plot immediately.
- "Oh, those suspects in alleged pope threat" GetReligion:
... the response of some of the world’s major news players has been interesting. The key point, again, is this: How high in the story do you answer the question that everyone really wants answered?
- The Vatican said the arrest of terrorist suspects would not affect Pope Benedict XVI's schedule of events and hat the pope remained "calm" and happy with the visit (Catholic News Service).
- Extensive coverage of plots against Pope Benedict (this was not the first!) courtesy of Dave Hartline (The American Catholic).
- Metropolitan Police have completed their investigations into the six Muslim street cleaners arrested in connection with a plot to assassinate Pope Benedict, concluding there was “no credible threat” to the Holy Father (Catholic Herald 7/18/10).
- BBC reports that Six men arrested by police investigating an alleged plot to attack the Pope have all been released without charge. (7/19/10)