4 UK soldiers arrested over neo-Nazi activity, terror charges
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4 UK soldiers arrested over neo-Nazi activity, terror charges

Detainees are suspected members of banned National Action group and were planning attacks, police say

Illustrative: Members of the UK's neo-Nazi National Action group rally in York, June 9, 2016. (Screen capture: YouTube)
Illustrative: Members of the UK's neo-Nazi National Action group rally in York, June 9, 2016. (Screen capture: YouTube)

Four British soldiers and alleged members of a banned neo-Nazi group were arrested on Tuesday for terror offenses, police said.

Britain’s Ministry of Defense confirmed that the men — arrested on suspicion of being members of the outlawed far-right group, National Action — were serving members of the army.

Last December, National Action became the first far-right group to be outlawed by the government — six months after the assassination of lawmaker Jo Cox by a far-right sympathizer.

Membership or inviting support for the organization is a criminal offense carrying a sentence of up to 10 years imprisonment.

The four suspects are being held “on suspicion of being concerned in the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism,” West Midlands police said in a statement.

Police did not name the four but said they were aged between 22 and 32 and came from Birmingham, Ipswich and Northampton in England and Powys in Wales.

“The arrests were pre-planned and intelligence-led; there was no threat to the public’s safety,” the statement said, adding that raids were also being carried out in “a number of properties.

Cox, an MP from the main opposition Labour party, was shot and stabbed to death in her constituency by far-right nationalist Thomas Mair in June 2016.

Mair shouted “Britain first!” as he killed her.

At the time, Interior Minister Amber Rudd branded the organization as “racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic.

Britain’s Home Secretary Amber Rudd arrives at Downing Street in central London on May 24, 2017, (AFP/Justin TALLIS)

In June this year, van driver Darren Osborne allegedly mowed down Muslim worshippers near a London mosque, leaving one person dead.

Prosecutors said Osborne was “motivated by extreme political views and a personal hatred of Muslims.” He is currently in custody awaiting trial.

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