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BRITAIN-THREAT (SECOND UPDATE) Sep-19-2010 (170 words) With photos posted Sept. 17. xxxi

British police release street sweepers arrested during pope's visit

By Catholic News Service

LONDON (CNS) -- Six street sweepers arrested on suspicion of terrorism during Pope Benedict XVI's visit were released without being charged, said officials at Scotland Yard.

The men, arrested early Sept. 17 at a central London cleaning business that contracts work with city officials, were questioned under the Terrorism Act. They were said to be North Africans, ages 26 to 50.

Some British media reported a police source said the men were overheard joking about blowing up the pope.

After the arrests, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, told reporters that police told Vatican officials about the arrests as the pontiff was presiding over events with schoolchildren and interreligious leaders that day in Twickenham, a London suburb.

Father Lombardi said the pope had been informed of the news.

"We have complete confidence in the police," Father Lombardi said. "It is not necessary to change the program. The police are taking the necessary measures, and the situation is not particularly dangerous.

"We don't have any particular concern -- we are calm," he added.

END


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