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Pair arrested over Parsons Green attack lived in 'halfway house for asylum seekers', neighbours say

Police on Jeffrey Street in Newport, South Wales following the arrest of a third man in connection with the Parsons Green terror attack
Picture by Claire Hayhurst/PA
Claire Hayhurst and Jennifer Cockerell

THE two latest men to be arrested over the Parsons Green bombing lived in what was described by neighbours as a "halfway house" for asylum seekers.

The pair, aged 30 and 48, were detained during a raid by counter-terrorism officers at a home in Newport, South Wales, early yesterday morning.

A third man (25), who was arrested at a separate address in Newport shortly after 7pm on Tuesday, and two other suspects detained on Saturday remain in custody, taking the total number of arrests to five.

Searches are being carried out at four addresses, with Commander Dean Haydon, head of the Met Counter Terrorism Command, describing them as expected to take "some days to complete".

The two latest men to be detained are believed to have lived in West Street, close to the city centre.

Residents described the house being searched as a "halfway house" for asylum seekers.

One local businessman, who did not wish to be named, said: "It's apparently a halfway house for the Home Office.

"The people that live there don't come from around here. I don't think they've been there for long."

CCTV images from a local taxi company, Town Taxis Newport, show police arriving on West Street at 5.10am.

In the footage, a marked police van drives into the residential street with three marked police cars and four unmarked cars.

Officers are seen walking into West Street from further vehicles parked on adjacent streets.

Police officers remained at the scene yesterday and the road was closed to non-residents.

Forensics officers dressed in white suits went into the property.

Police dogs were also at the scene.

Meanwhile, witnesses to the arrest in Newport on Tuesday described officers "jumping" a man who was put into a police car and driven away.

Nearby resident Sully Ali (19), a part-time model, told the Press Association: "A big van pulled up and six officers got out and jumped this guy.

"There were two armed officers there, they didn't have their guns pointed at him but they had them on show.

"The guy was smiling.

"I didn't hear him saying anything or the police saying anything to him."

Residents said the arrested man had lived in the area for many years and attended local mosques.

"He was a nice guy, everybody knew him," one man said.

"He was a student here and he worked as a painter and decorator."

One mother added: "He did some painting on our house about two years ago.

"He was a nice guy, he was very softly spoken.

"He used to condemn terrorism in front of my husband, my husband would condemn terrorism and he would agree with him.

"I know he is a Muslim but I don't know what mosque he went to.

"Muslims in this area are totally shocked, we condemn terrorism totally and we totally condemn what happened in London."

The latest raids were carried out by the Met Counter Terrorism Command, assisted by Gwent Police and the Welsh Extremism and Counter Terrorism Unit (Wectu) and both addresses in the town were being searched yesterday.

Mr Haydon said: "This continues to be a fast-moving investigation.

"A significant amount of activity has taken place since the attack on Friday.

"We now have five men in custody and searches are continuing at four addresses.

"Detectives are carrying out extensive inquiries to determine the full facts behind the attack.

"We anticipate that the searches will take some days to complete and may cause further disruption.

"However, it is important that we continue with these searches and I'd like to thank all those affected for their support, patience and cooperation."

Friday morning's bomb attack on a London Underground train left 30 people injured.

Detectives had already been granted more time to question the two suspects who were arrested on Saturday.

The family of the second suspect, an 18-year-old man, earlier insisted he was innocent and "loves the UK", according to reports.

Syrian refugee Yahyah Farroukh (21), was arrested on Saturday night as he finished a shift at a fried chicken takeaway in Hounslow, west London.

His brother Hamed told the MailOnline from Egypt: "My father, God bless his soul, brought us up to live decently and with high morals.

"Yahyah has never mingled with bad guys or militants or Daesh people."

Both Farroukh and the younger man, understood to be the suspected bomber, are believed to have spent time in foster care with Penelope and Ronald Jones, aged 71 and 88 respectively, who previously received MBEs for services to children and families.

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