Major Police Operation target 'terror plot' in Birmingham 

 BBC News 

The raids took place at 0400 GMT on Wednesday morning Eight people have been arrested under the Terrorism Act in Birmingham after a "significant" operation involving police and security service MI5. A number of addresses in the city have been sealed off after morning raids.  

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Security sources have told the BBC the alleged plot would not have involved mass casualties but marked "a different approach to terrorism in the UK".  The six-month operation involved the Midlands counter terrorism unit, West Midlands Police and the Met Police.  

West Midlands Police said the operation posed "no specific threat" to the area, although the UK was a potential target.     

At least four addresses in Birmingham were targeted as part of the 0400 GMT raids.  Two residential houses and a general store in the Alum Rock area were raided as well as a book store in the Sparkhill area.  

Police have cordoned off roads around Jackson Road and Foxton Road, in Alum Rock, and Poplar Road and Stratford Road, in Sparkhill.  Police have not confirmed any of the raided addresses.  

Baswant Kant, who lives in Stratford Road, near the junction with Poplar Road, said he saw "a lot" of police activity in the early hours of Wednesday morning.  

"There were about 55 police officers who turned up in white vans," he added.  "They went into shops and restaurants along the road - a lot of people got arrested."  

Public co-operation  The eight are suspected of "the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism".  The Home Office said Home Secretary John Reid had been fully briefed.  

"This operation is a reminder of the real and serious nature of the terrorist threat we face," a spokeswoman said.  In a statement, West Midlands Police asked for the "continued support and co-operation of the public".  

"Our message to people living in the West Midlands is to remain vigilant," the statement added.  The raided houses are now being searched by officers.   

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