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Six held in UK anti-terror raids

Story Highlights

• The suspects are three men from London and Luton
• One of the men is thought to be Abu Izzadeen
• Izzadeen was spokesman for a banned Islamic militant group
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LONDON, England (CNN/AP) -- British anti-terror police backed by local authorities arrested six people Tuesday morning in a series of raids, a statement from Metropolitan Police said.

"The men were arrested this morning by officers from the Met's Counter Terrorism Command, supported by local officers, at five addresses in London and one in Luton ... in connection with inciting others to commit acts of terrorism overseas and terrorist fund raising," the statement said.

Luton is located north of London.

All six, who range in age from 21 to 35, were arrested under Britain's Terrorism Act 2000 and are being held at a central London police station, according to Scotland Yard.

Police said searches were being carried out at number of locations.

"The arrests form part of a long-term pro-active and complex investigation into alleged incitement and radicalization for the purposes of terrorism, as well as alleged provision of financial support for international terrorism."

Police did not immediately identify the six and would not confirm reports that one of the men was Abu Izzadeen, also known as Omar Brooks, who heckled Home Secretary John Reid last year.

However, Anjem Choudary, a former spokesman for the banned Islamic militant group al-Ghurabaa, told the Associated Press that his "close friend" Izzadeen had been arrested. Izzadeen, 31, was also a spokesman for the group, which was outlawed in July.

"There were six arrests this morning, around 5 or 6 a.m. They are saying it's in relation to something around November 2004, allegedly collecting funds for terrorism, inciting terrorism," Choudary said.

He added that Izzadeen and the others are innocent.

"People collect a lot of money for orphans and widows at Ramadan, but we know Muslims are guilty until they can prove themselves innocent," he said.

Izzadeen already faces charges of encouraging terrorism after he was arrested in February and released on bail. Those charges are related to a speech he gave in Birmingham last year.

Izzadeen received national attention when he disrupted a meeting between Reid and Muslim leaders in London, which Reid had called to ask Muslim parents to look out for signs in their children of brainwashing by extremists.

Copyright 2007 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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