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Four suspected members of a neo-Nazi group who were arrested for terror offences are serving members of the British Army, it has emerged.
The four men – aged between 22 and 34 – are believed to be members of the banned neo-Nazi group National Action.
They were arrested by West Midlands counter-terror officers on suspicion of preparing acts of terror following an “intelligence led” operation.
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Defence confirmed all four are members of the Army.
West Midlands Police said the men – a 22-year-old from Birmingham, a 32-year-old from Powys, a 24-year-old from Ipswich and a 24-year-old from Northampton – were detained as part of a “pre-planned and intelligence-led” operation and there was “no threat to the public’s safety”.
They are being held by police as a number of properties are raided and searched.
In a statement, the police said the suspects were arrested “on suspicion of being concerned in the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000; namely on suspicion of being a member of a proscribed organisation (National Action) contrary to sec 11 of the Terrorism Act”.
National Action became first extreme right-wing group to be banned under terrorism laws in December 2016.
The proscription meant that being a member of or inviting support for the organisation is a criminal offence carrying a sentence of up to ten years’ imprisonment.
A description of National Action in the official list of proscribed groups says it is a “racist neo-Nazi group” that was established in 2013 and has branches across the UK which “conduct provocative street demonstrations and stunts aimed at intimidating local communities”.
The document adds that the group is “virulently racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic”.
The document also links National Action to the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox in 2016.
It said the group’s online propaganda material frequently features extremely violent imagery and language, and cited tweets posted in connection with her murder at the hands of right-wing extremist Thomas Mair.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd took the decision to proscribe National Action after an assessment that it was “concerned in terrorism” ahead of Mair’s trial.
Police said 22 suspected members or associates of National Action were arrested in 2016.
London News & Search