Three men arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences have been linked to an investigation into threats to kill Gordon Brown, it emerged last night.
The suspects were detained on August 14 in a joint operation between Lancashire Police and the Greater Manchester police counter-terrorism unit.
Police confirmed that the arrests are linked to a posting on the al-Ekhlaas website in January calling for the deaths of Brown and his predecessor Tony Blair.
The group making the threats called itself “al-Qaeda in Britain” and demanded the withdrawal of British forces from Iraq and Afghanistan. It also demanded the release of Muslim inmates from the high-security Belmarsh prison.
Two of the suspects were arrested at Manchester airport as they were about to board a flight to Finland. The third was arrested in Accrington, Lancashire.
Counter-terrorist officers are in Scandinavia continuing their investigations amid fears that British groups are establishing terror links in Denmark.
Police have until Thursday to charge the men – aged 21, 22 and 23, and from Blackburn – release them, or seek an extension to their custody.
The internet statement was posted in Arabic and has since been translated.
It warns that if the group’s demands are not met “then the Martyrdom seekers of the organisation of al-Qaeda in Britain will target all the political leaders especially Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, and we will also target all Embassies, Crusaders Centers and their Interests through out the country, with the help of Allah.”