Middle East

Man arrested in Britain over Syria kidnappings

Free Syrian Army fighters walk past damage after shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad at Erbeen near Damascus November 11, 2012. (REUTERS/Bassam Al-Erbeeni/Shaam News Network/HO)

LONDON: British police arrested a man at London's Heathrow Airport on Monday in connection with the kidnapping of two Western journalists by Islamic extremists in Syria.

London's Metropolitan Police said they arrested the 24-year-old man on suspicion of terrorism offences after he arrived on a flight from Bahrain.

"Officers from the MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) Counter Terrorism Command today... arrested a 24-year-old man on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism," the force said in a statement.

"Today's arrest forms part of an investigation into travel to Syria in support of alleged terrorist activity."

A Scotland Yard spokesman confirmed that the arrest was in connection with the kidnapping of photographers John Cantlie from Britain and Jeroen Oerlemans of the Netherlands, who were held at a Syrian camp between July 17 and 26.

A British trainee doctor, Shajul Islam, appeared in court last month charged with being part of the jihadist group that held them. The 26-year-old's six-week trial is set to begin on June 5.

Cantlie, who was abducted with Oerlemans while covering the Syrian conflict, has said they were held by some 30 Islamic militants from countries including Britain, Pakistan and Chechnya.

Both photographers suffered gunshot wounds when the Free Syrian Army, the main rebel movement fighting troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, freed them from their captors.





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