Four men and a woman from Birmingham were held as officers swooped in
Phone linked to Abrini said to contain photos of Birmingham landmarks
Images said to include Aston Villa’s stadium and Bullring shopping centre
Security official claimed ‘man in the hat’ Abrini visited UK on ‘multiple trips’
Five UK terror suspects were arrested after US code crackers hacked into a phone linked to the ‘man in the hat’ Mohamed Abrini.
Four men and a woman from Birmingham were held as officers swooped on the suspected UK arm of the fanatical group who killed 162 in Paris and Brussels in a wave of gun attacks and suicide bombings.
The phone linked to Abrini, 31, is believed to have contained photographs of Birmingham landmarks including Aston Villa’s football stadium and the city’s Bullring shopping mall.
A photograph of New Street rail station and images of the Small Heath area are also said to have been discovered on the device.
A European security official claimed this weekend that Abrini had made ‘multiple trips’ to Birmingham last year to meet home-grown terror suspects.
West Midlands Police said officers working with MI5 and Belgian and French authorities swooped in an operation ‘to address any associated threat to the UK following the attacks in Europe’.
Three men aged 26, 40 and 59, and a 29-year-old woman were held in Birmingham on Thursday night, while a 26-year-old man was intercepted on Friday morning at Gatwick as he flew back into the UK.
The breakthrough in the hunt for those linked to the attacks across the Channel comes less than a week after police in Belgium identified the elusive ‘man in the hat’ caught on CCTV at Brussels airport.
Abrini, who had already been linked to November’s attack on Paris, was arrested in Belgium and has confessed to being the third man.
French intelligence sources say Abrini met Islamist fanatics in Birmingham four months before a series of gun attacks and suicide bombings in the French capital left 130 dead.
They said Abrini, 31, a Belgian of Moroccan origin, visited the West Midlands last July before flying back to France, raising concerns over British support of the terror cell now known to have been behind both attacks on the two European capitals.
While he was still on the run, Interpol president Mireille Ballestrazzi told the BBC’s Panorama that photos of an unspecified football stadium had been found on Abrini’s phone.
Three of the Paris attackers attempted to enter the Stade de France during an international football friendly between France and Germany, before blowing themselves up outside.
Yesterday a security official told the Associated Press that Abrini had made multiple trips to Birmingham last year, meeting with several men suspected of terrorist activity.
Surveillance had been taking place on suspected cell members in the Birmingham area since the Paris attacks, the official said.
A second security official with access to Belgian counter-terrorism data said West Midlands Police had closed in on a ring of suspects linked to Abrini’s phone after his arrest.
Here is a very ‘interesting’ news story on the subject of Government Sponsored Phone Hacking…
NSA & British GCHQ Hacked SIM Card Maker to Steal Encryption Keys to Spy on Billions of Cellphones:
Video courtesy of:freespeech tv