Five men were arrested under terrorism laws in Britain near a nuclear site just hours after it was announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed, British authorities announced Tuesday.
The men, all aged in their 20s and from London were stopped in their car close to the Sellafield site, which processes nuclear waste.
Manchester police said the investigation was in its early stages. They were not immediately aware of any connection to death of bin Laden in the US special forces operation in Pakistan.
The BBC reported that the men were of Bangladeshi origin and were thought to have been filming the nuclear site in north-west England.
The investigation is now being led by the North West Counter Terrorism Unit.
A statement from the local police said officers from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, who guard the site, carried out “a stop check on a vehicle close to the Sellafield site.”
“As a result, police officers from Cumbria Constabulary arrested five men from London, all aged in their 20s, under section 41 of the Terrorism Act.
“They were taken to police custody in Carlisle overnight and are being transported to Manchester this morning. The investigation is being led by the North West Counter Terrorism Unit.”
The BBC reported that the arrests were not the result of a long running investigation. Under Britain Terrorism Act 2000, police can stop anyone they “reasonably suspect” of being a terrorist.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday: “We have to be very vigilant, particularly in the short term, because there will be dangers of reprisals from other parts of Al Qaeda or lone-wolf operators.”
Ed Miliband, leader of the opposition Labour Party, declined to comment directly on the arrests but said: “It is right that the Government has stepped up security at various places and obviously they will act on any intelligence they have.”
On July 7, 2005, four suicide bombers detonated explosives on London subway trains and a bus in co-ordinated attacks, killing 56 people and injuring about 700.