The five street cleaners are reportedly Algerian and Moroccan nationals.

5 men were arrested today in plot against Pope Benedict.
SKY News reported:

Five street cleaners have been arrested over a potential threat to the Pope, Sky News sources say.

Armed counter-terror officers swooped on the central London agency to which they were registered in the early hours of the morning.

The suspects, who are aged 26, 27, 36, 40 and 50, are being held and questioned under the Terrorism Act 2000.

The firm where the arrests were made is now being searched, as well as homes in north and east London.

Sky News crime correspondent Martin Brunt said the men were street cleaners employed by the agency to work for Westminster City Council.

He said they were due to clean streets in Lambeth near where the Pope is due to travel, prompting the police to launch the operation to arrest them.

Brunt said: “I was at a briefing last week around the whole issue of the Pope’s security and the point was made then that there was no known threat or intelligence to suggest a plot against the Pope.

“What the police are dealing with today is something that has cropped up in the last 24 hours.”

A spokesman for Scotland Yard said: “Initial searches have not uncovered any hazardous items.

“Today’s arrests were made after police received information. Following initial inquiries by detectives, a decision was made to arrest the five men.

The AFP has more:


As media reports said the men were Algerian, police were searching several properties in the British capital but reported they had not yet found any “hazardous items.”

The massive security operation for the pope’s four-day visit to Scotland and England is costing up to 1.5 million pounds (2.3 million dollars, 1.8 million euros).

The alert came on the second day of the first-ever papal state visit to Britain.

As well as the Westminster Abbey service, Benedict was also due to meet with Williams at Lambeth Palace, the Anglican archbishop’s London residence.

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