The arrest of three terror suspects in northern England earlier this month was linked to an online threat to kill Prime Minister Gordon Brown, British media reported Friday.
The British Broadcasting Corp. said the three men were being held in connection with an Internet posting signed “al-Qaida in Britain,” which threatened the life of Brown and former prime minister Tony Blair.
The statement, posted on a radical website earlier this year, demanded the withdrawal of British forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, and the release of Muslim inmates from Britain’s Belmarsh Prison, a high-security facility that houses many convicted terrorists.
The BBC did not cite a source for its report or explain the suspects’ alleged connection to the Internet posting. However, Britain’s Press Association news agency quoted unidentified police sources as confirming the BBC report.
Lancashire police in northern England were not immediately available for comment about the reports Friday evening. Brown’s office declined comment. Neither did Britain’s Home Office, which handles media queries for the country’s domestic intelligence agency MI5.
The three men were arrested Aug. 14, two of them at Manchester Airport, about 300 kilometres north of London, and the third in the nearby town of Accrington. The BBC said the two arrested at the airport were about to board a plane for Finland, and that British counterterrorism police have travelled there as part their investigation.