SHEFFIELD: A Christmas terror attack has been prevented following the arrest of four suspects in dawn raids.
Armed officers and the bomb squad stormed addresses in northern England yesterday, as investigators feared a gang of suspected Islamist extremists had assembled an explosive.
The men, aged between 22 and 41, were taken into custody after the raids in Sheffield and Chesterfield, Derbyshire, which were a joint operation between anti-terror police and MI5.
‘The timing of the raids may be significant and the use of the bomb squad shows what police thought they might find behind the door,’ said a source, who told Sky News the suspects homes and electronic devices were being searched.
Neighbours were ordered to leave their homes as Army bomb disposal experts removed ‘packages’ from a house in Chesterfield, said resident Simon Fox, 22.
Meanwhile, neighbours in Sheffield reported hearing ‘explosions’ as police raided several homes and a community centre. One said he heard ‘three quick blasts’ as up to six armed officers entered a house. ‘We’re on the frontline here,’ he added.
Police denied using explosives to gain entry to the properties.
The raids came a year to the day when a Daesh terrorist killed 12 people at Berlin’s Christmas market.
Earlier this month, the terror group urged supporters to target Christmas markets across Europe and the US.