LONDON: Nine men arrested in police raids a week ago have been charged with conspiracy to cause explosions in Britain and with plotting terrorism offences, police said on Monday.
The nine were among 12 men arrested on December 20 in what police said at the time were counter-terrorism raids essential to protect the public from the threat of attack.
Three of the 12 arrested were released without charge, a statement issued by West Midlands Police said.
The remainder will appear at the City of Westminster Magistrates Court later on Monday, the statement said.
“I have today advised the police that nine men should be charged with conspiracy to cause explosions and with engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism with the intention of either committing acts of terrorism, or assisting another to commit such acts,” Sue Hemming, head of the Crown Prosecution Service Counter Terrorism Division, said in the statement.
“I have reviewed the evidence provided to me by the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit and I am satisfied there is sufficient for a realistic prospect of conviction, and it is in the public interest that these men should be charged with these offences,” Hemming added.
Three of the men, aged 24, 26 and 28, are from the Welsh capital Cardiff, two aged 20 and 28 are from London, and four aged 19, 25, 26 and 26 are from Stoke-on-Trent in central England, the police statement said.
At the time of the arrests, the BBC reported that most of the suspects were British but they also included a small number of Bangladeshis.
The police statement said that between October 1 and November 20 the suspects had conspired to cause “explosions of a nature likely to endanger life or cause serious injury to property”.
It added that between October and December 20, when the men were arrested, they had been downloading from the Internet, researching and discussing potential targets, carrying out reconnaissance and “igniting and testing incendiary material”.
It did not specify what the potential targets were.
The BBC said in an unsourced report at the time of the arrests that they were linked to an investigation into al Qaeda-inspired attacks within Britain. The inquiry was led by the MI5 domestic security agency and the suspected plot was in its early stages, it said.
Police would not comment on the report.
Four suicide bombers killed 52 people on three trains and a bus in London in July 2005. – Reuters