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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Thursday, 27 September, 2001, 07:38 GMT 08:38 UK
Iraqis held at US base
Lorry at RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk
The lorry in which the men were found
Police are questioning seven men who were detained under the Terrorism Act 2000 after being found hidden in a vehicle at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk.

The men, six of whom are thought to be Iraqis, were concealed in a civilian lorry, which is believed to have entered the UK on Wednesday.

A seventh man, thought to be German, has also been arrested.

The stowaways were discovered when the lorry in which they were travelling was stopped during a routine search at the entrance to the base.

Noises were heard from inside the vehicle and police were called to the base by military personnel shortly before midday.

The men were found locked in a compartment under the lorry.

'Illegal immigration'

In a statement, Suffolk Police said: "All seven men were arrested in connection with offences relating to illegal immigration.

"Because of the circumstances surrounding their discovery, all seven men were additionally detained under the Terrorism Act 2000."

The white lorry remained within a sealed off cordon tonight as investigations continued.

Army personnel were also providing security at the scene.

The base is used by the United States Air Force and is about 70 miles from Harwich, from which a number of ferry routes operate.

Colonel John Snider, vice commander of the 48th Fighter Wing stationed at the base, said: "It's an excellent reminder to us all to be vigilant when it comes to force protection.

"You never know what might happen."

The men are being held at an undisclosed location.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's James Blatch
reports from Lakenheath
The BBC's Margaret Gilmore
"Suicide bombers are now ready to operate here in the west"
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