Police Use Taser Gun In Midlands Raid

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A MAN, claimed by the police to be Yasin Omar, was stunned with a high voltage taser during an armed police raid carried out at 4.30am yesterday in Birmingham.

He had still not arrived at Paddington Green high-security police station by 4.30pm yesterday, and was said to be in hospital receiving treatment for injuries received at the hands of the police.

The man was arrested in the Small Heath area, in one of two separate Birmingham pre-dawn raids.

Yasin Omar is alleged to be one of the men shown in a CCTV still broadcast by the police in connection with the July 7th bombings.

Police said they found a rucksack in the flat they raided and were still considering carrying out a controlled explosion yesterday evening after evacuating neighbours.

The shocked residents of 200 houses were evacuated at dawn and taken to a local leisure centre and the area cordoned off.

Three other men were arrested in the second raid in Washwood Heath.

Both Birmingham raids were joint operations carried out by Metropolitan Police anti-terror officers and West Midlands Police officers.

A police spokesman said three of the four arrested in Birmingham were being held by police in the West Midlands while one was being transferred to a London police station.

Previously, two men were arrested at 11.30pm Tuesday night at Grantham railway station under the Prevention of Terrorism Act as they travelled from Newcastle to Kings Cross station in London.

They were subsequently taken to a Lincolnshire police station.

These arrests were made after information was given by two off-duty officers from London’s Metropolitan Police who were travelling on the same train.

It remained unclear yesterday if the two being held in Lincolnshire had anything to do with the planned attacks. 

‘We’re not prepared to discuss whether they’re linked to the London bombings,’ a Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said.

The Birmingham arrests bring the number of people that police have said are being held in connection with the 21 July attempted bombings to nine.

Police last week arrested and are still holding five other people in relation to the botched attacks.

Yesterday afternoon Prime Minister Blair, at a Downing Street press conference with Spanish prime minister Jose Zapatero, had a reporter quote to him Cherie Booth’s remarks: ‘it is all too easy for us to respond to such terror in a way which undermines commitment to our most deeply held values and convictions and which cheapens our right to call ourselves a civilised nation’.

Blair said: ‘Well, it’s important we balance our way of life, our civil liberties and security.’

He claimed that his wife had also ‘said something like that’.

He was asked whether ‘a rapid withdrawal of British and American forces from Iraq would actually make all our countries safer from terrorist attack’.

The question clearly stung Blair, who responded ‘he asks it so nicely as well’. He avoided the issue and refused to give any estimate of when troops might begin to be withdrawn.

Another reporter asked: ‘While your discussions have been dominated by combating terror, and while the police and security forces are working flat out to protect us from suicide bombers, how is it justified for the Home Secretary to be on holiday?’

Blair replied: ‘Look, he’s been working flat out, he’s going to take a break and then he’s going to be back.

‘You can come back at any point in time. I will be going on holiday at some time next week. I will come back at any point in time that’s necessary.’

Pressed that ‘it is the biggest manhunt in police history’, Blair said: ‘Charles Clarke is not personally conducting it.

‘Of course he is absolutely in touch with everything that is going on. I am still here at the present time, the government is carrying on functioning.

‘I personally think it’s sensible for people to take their holiday. He can come back at any time. Nobody in this world is more than four hours away.’