British police shot out the tires of a car carrying two suspected supporters of terrorism in London late Sunday as part of a "pre-planned intelligence operation" that ended in four arrests.
A police official said they used what's called Hatton rounds, special ammunition designed specifically to blow out tires, to stop the suspects' car. The official would not say if the pair, 25-year-old British nationals from Turkey and Algeria, had refused to stop the car before the tires were shot out. Elsewhere in London, police also arrested a 28-year-old British national from Azerbaijan and a 29-year-old British national from Pakistan, officials said.
All of the men were arrested "on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism," according to a message posted on Scotland Yard's website. They are in custody at a south London police station, the statement said, and police are carrying out additional searches at six addresses in London.
English authorities declined to say what prompted their operation, but the BBC reported an alleged terror plot, which reportedly would involve firearms, had been under surveillance for some time and that the decision for the police to go in now was made by a "senior committee" involving Scotland Yard and MI-5, the British equivalent of America's FBI.
Alistar Gillies, who said he witnessed one of the arrests, told the BBC he thought two dozen officers, mostly in plainclothes, may have been involved.
"It looked like there was a great deal of planning and a great deal of resources had been put on tackling this situation," he said.
British broadcaster ITV showed video of one of the arrests in which the Azerbaijani suspect appears to be wrestled to the ground by plainclothes police officers.