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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 June, 2005, 17:35 GMT 18:35 UK
UK arrest in Iraq attacks probe
Suspect being led away by police
The man was arrested after a raid in Manchester
A man has been arrested in Manchester in connection with suicide bomb attacks on coalition forces in Iraq.

He was taken into custody after a raid by 30 police officers on a house where he had been living in Great Southern Street, Moss Side, early on Tuesday.

Police said he was an associate of a French national who had lived there and is believed to have gone to Iraq in February to carry out a bombing.

The arrest was not related to any threat in the UK, police added.

There were arrests in Spain and Germany last week over the sending of suicide bombers to Iraq, although there is no evidence of a link.

'Established network'

Assistant Chief Constable, Dave Whatton, of Greater Manchester Police said: "The action was taken as it was believed that one of the previous residents of the house may have died during an attack against coalition forces in Iraq in February 2005.

"The man was a 41-year-old French national. Inquiries have been carried out in Iraq and the UK to establish the circumstances, and to positively identify the individual and the details surrounding his travelling to Iraq.

"Officers are searching the address looking for documents related to his journey to Iraq or links to anyone else.

"People living in the house have been given assistance including moving them to a new venue while the search is under way.

"One man aged 40 has been arrested under the Terrorism Act."

Established network

The nationality of the man has not been revealed.

Whitehall officials said they were already aware of an established network which sends "jihadist" volunteers from the UK to Iraq to fight coalition forces.

BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner said the volunteers were mostly north African, and often carried European passports.

After the arrest, police distributed leaflets in the surrounding area to reassure residents.

They said the arrest related to "an individual who once lived in the area was involved in a terrorist incident in Iraq earlier this year".

"There is nothing to indicate that at any time there has been any threat to the community of Greater Manchester."

Well-planned operation

Neighbour Andrew Holmes, 43, said: "What I heard first was 30 coppers or thereabouts making a lot of noise and kicking someone's front door in next door but one.

"About half an hour later, someone was arrested. This was about 4.30am or 5am.

"It was a well-planned operation with a lot of police in the vicinity blocking off streets and so on."

Mr Holmes added: "I knew of the man but didn't really speak to him. He kept himself to himself. I certainly didn't know him well. He was an average-looking guy.

"I think he had lived there for about two years but I'm not sure."




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
A neighbour describes how police swooped on Moss Side



SEE ALSO:
Iraq bombers hit security forces
30 May 05 |  Middle East
Dozens die in Iraq suicide attack
10 Mar 05 |  Middle East
Suicide blasts hit US Iraq base
11 Apr 05 |  Middle East



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