Two held in UK on terrorism charge

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London: Two men have been arrested on terrorism charges and nearly 100 houses evacuated after alleged explosive substances were found in a garage in the south-west England town of Cheltenham, home to country`s electronic surveillance centre. The two men, aged 52 and 31, who have not been identified, were initially arrested on Friday under the Explosive Substances Act.

They have been further arrested on suspicion of the commission, instigation or preparation of a terrorist act, official sources said. The case is being investigated jointly by the South East Counter Terrorism Unit and the Gloucestershire Police. Cheltenham Borough Council has set up rest centres in two community halls nearby to accommodate displaced residents.

Chief Executive Andrew North said: "The joint working with Gloucestershire Police and other agencies has been fantastic. "We understand how distressing this may be for a number of Cheltenham residents but people should be reassured that we will get things back to normality as soon as possible".

Assistant Chief Constable for Gloucestershire Constabulary Richard Berry said: "We cannot thank the community enough for their continued support and patience during what is a thorough and methodical investigation". UK`s government communications headquarters, GCHQ, is based in Cheltenham, where they gather intelligence through intercepting electronic communications.

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