Seven held in UK terror probe, weapons found in vehicle

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In this Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012 file photo security forces take part during in a combined British police and British Royal Marines security exercise for the London 2012 Olympic Games on the River Thames in London.

UK police detained seven men in a series of counter-terrorism arrests this week after several weapons were found in a vehicle in central England.

The men are being held on suspicion of commissioning, preparing or instigating terrorist acts, the West Midlands Police said in a statement Friday. Police on June 30 found firearms and "offensive weapons" hidden in the vehicle that was on the M1 highway in South Yorkshire.

Police throughout the UK are tightening security in a 66- day operation to keep the country safe during the Olympic Games, which start July 27. An additional 9,500 police officers will be deployed in London on the busiest days of the games, the Metropolitan Police Service in the city said.

The men in custody range in age from 22 to 43 and the items found in the vehicle are undergoing forensic analysis, police said. The arrests followed a routine traffic stop on June 30.

"As soon as the items were discovered in the impounded vehicle, our priority was to protect the public by pursuing and arresting those we believed to be involved," said Detective Chief Superintendent Kenny Bell, head of the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit, which is leading the investigation.

Six people were arrested in London yesterday as part of a terrorism probe. The arrests and searches weren't linked to the Games, the MPS said.

In a separate incident, police closed a major highway in central England for more than four hours yesterday in what proved to be a false-alarm. Police stopped the bus and shut the road after passengers said they saw vapor escaping from a bag that turned out to be a "health-improvement aid for smokers."

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