Police arrest four on suspicion of terrorism offences

Police arrest four on suspicion of terrorism offences

Five alleged members of a banned British neo-Nazi group were arrested on terror offences Tuesday, among them serving soldiers including one deployed in Cyprus, the United Kingdom defence ministry said.

A spokesman for the British Army confirmed the arrests.

National Action members march in Darlington in 2016, shortly before the group was banned.

The proscribed group is said to have continued meeting in secret, and an undercover investigation by ITV News found former members attending combat training in March despite the ban.

The men, including a 22-year-old from Birmingham, were detained as part of a "pre-planned and intelligence-led" operation, said West Midlands Police.

Last month, a senior police chief said the number of referrals to the authorities about suspected right-wing extremists had doubled since the lawmaker's murder. When MP Jo Cox was murdered, National Action commented "there are only 649 MPs to go".

The men are being held on suspicion of "being concerned in the commission, preparation, and instigation of acts of terrorism under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000".

West Midlands Police said the four were detained as part of a an intelligence-led operation and there was no threat to the public’s safety

It said the arrests followed a police operation supported by the army.

Earlier in May, German military police revealed that they were investigating 275 cases of far-right extremism within the German army.

That "proscribed far-right group" is National Action, a secretive neo-Nazi network that first surfaced publicly in 2014 on British college campuses. She described them as "a racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic organisation". Its slogan, "Death to traitors, freedom for Britain", was the only thing said by Thomas Mair while on trial for the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox (pictured below) in June previous year.

A Home Office spokesman said: "The group's online propaganda material, disseminated via social media, frequently features extremely violent imagery and language".

When National Action was outlawed previous year, Interior Minister Amber Rudd described the group as "racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic".

Four of the men, including the civilian, were arrested in the United Kingdom, while a fifth suspect, who is understood to be in the Royal Anglian Regiment, was detained in Cyprus.

The designation meant that being a member of or inviting support for the group is a criminal offence carrying a sentence of up to ten years in prison.

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