Sunday’s arrests of four terror suspects in London allowed Britain to avert a plot to orchestrate a large-scale terror attack similar to the assault on Kenya's Westgate mall, reports The Associated Press.
Police were questioning four men in their 20s on suspicion of terrorism after they were detained Sunday in pre-planned, intelligence-led raids.
A British security official said on Monday that the men were planning a shooting spree akin to the Westgate attack in Nairobi, in which at least 67 people died.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it was not clear how advanced the planning was but that any attack was not imminent.
Metropolitan Police did not identify the suspects or say what, if any, charges, they may face. The men were all British nationals between the ages of 25 and 29, with roots in Turkey, Pakistan, Algeria and Azerbaijan.
The force confirmed that the London police firearms unit took part in the arrests. British police rarely carry weapons and their involvement suggested concern that men might have been armed.
Dramatic CCTV footage has emerged of one of the arrests, in which counter-terror police are seen tackling a suspect on the street in an upscale west London neighborhood.
Recently, Al-Shabaab, the terrorist group which carried out the recent attack in Nairobi, said it was planning to target Britain next.
A hate preacher wanted for recruiting terrorists to the group warned in a newspaper interview that Britain was the next target for the Somali Al-Qaeda affiliate.
Sunday’s arrests came just several days after MI5 chief Andrew Parker warned that there are thousands of Islamic extremists living in the UK who see the British public as a valid target for attack.
Parker also said Islamic terror had become more complicated to track than ever before.