Investigations into an international jihadist chain behind the terrorist attacks in Belgium and France are also looking into past British connections to al-Qaeda plots paving the way for the 9/11 attacks, The Independent has learned.
Five people, four men and a woman, were arrested last week in Birmingham and at Gatwick airport in connection with the terror attacks in Belgium and France – their identities have not been released. This followed reports that two of the terrorists involved in the massacres had been in England in the last year and photographs of sites they had visited had been found on their mobile telephones.
Security officials are also investigating the links between Islamists in Britain and those in Belgium and France that go back more than 15 years. These include some with ties to Molenbeek, the Brussels suburb which has been at the heart of the recent bombings and shootings on the Continent. Western European intelligence officers believe that the links set up a decade and half ago between extremists in the UK and those on the Continent have been maintained and have become more active since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011.
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