London, May 1 (ANI): British law enforcement officials have said that the seven terror suspects arrested on Tuesday, were allegedly involved in a plot to finance an Al Qaeda group using drug money.
More than 500 counter-terrorism cops backed by local police and officers from the UK Border Agency carried out dawn raids in London, Coventry and Cardiff to arrest the seven suspects, The Sun reports.
Homeland Security Investigations from the US were also involved in the operation, which was codenamed 'Iridescent'.
Cash for the al-Shabaab terrorist network in Somalia is said to come from the export of a plant called khat, which contains an alkaloid called cathinone, an amphetamine-like stimulant, which causes excitement, to the US and Canada.
Cathinone is legal in the UK, selling for below two pounds a kilo, but is banned in North America. It fetches 350 pounds a kilo in the black market there.
It is also believed the suspects were involved in a racket to supply weapons to Somali pirates.
A man, 49, and a woman, 45, were detained from Croydon, South London. It was not clear whether they are man and wife. Two men aged 49 and 30 were arrested in the London suburb of Brent.
A man aged 45 and a man aged 42 were arrested from Coventry and another man aged 40 was arrested in Cardiff.
The suspects are all thought to have links with Britain's Somali community.
A police statement said: "The arrests were a part of a pre-planned, intelligence-led operation into suspected fundraising for terrorism overseas."
Warrants were granted allowing searches at 12 residential addresses. (ANI)
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