British police arrest six in Syria-linked probe

The three men and three women were detained in Farnborough and Portsmouth

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British police on Tuesday said they had arrested six people on terrorism charges in an investigation linked to the conflict in Syria, where hundreds of British jihadists are fighting.

The three men and three women were detained in Farnborough and Portsmouth in Hampshire, southern England, and in Greenwich in southeast London.

“Officers would like to reassure residents that the police activity today is in relation to conflicts overseas and is not linked to any immediate threat to local communities,” a spokesman for Thames Valley police said.

He explained the reference was to the Syrian conflict.

Two of the men, aged 23 and 26, and two of the women, aged 23 and 29, were arrested on suspicion of “commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism”, police said.

A 57-year-old man and a 48-year-old woman from the city of Portsmouth were also detained on suspicion of “failing to disclose information about acts of terrorism”.

Britain's Press Association reported that the house in Portsmouth had already been raided by the police in April and is believed to be the family home of Ifthekar Jaman, a British Muslim killed fighting government troops in Syria in 2013.

Jaman was known for providing online advice and encouragement to British nationals wanting to travel to Syria to fight.

Interior minister Theresa May said last month that police had arrested 103 people so far this year over “terrorism in Syria”, adding that 24 of them had been charged and five convicted.

The government estimates there are around 500 British jihadists fighting in Iraq and Syria as part of the Islamic State group.

Counter-terrorism police in London are still holding six men -- three arrested last week and three on Monday -- after allegedly disrupting what they said was a “significant” Islamist plot.

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