Footage shows woman in burqa pulled off bus and bundled into doorway as counter-terrorism police swoop

Rachel Roberts

A woman wearing a burqa was dragged off a London bus by armed police in a counter-terrorism operation that led to another young Muslim woman being shot just a few streets away.

Footage shows a passenger, believed to be in her twenties, in full Muslim dress, screaming as a group of undercover officers pull her off public transport on Willesden High Road in north-west London on Thursday evening.

The woman was forced to lower her veil after being bundled into a doorway next to a shop while her bags were searched by undercover police who swooped after receiving intelligence of a suspected terrorist plot.

A 20-year-old man on board the bus is understood to have run off but to have been arrested shortly afterwards.

The woman had got off the 266 bus, which was waved on its journey by police at the scene.

Witnesses said the woman had two bags taken from her and searched by police, who then spoke to her before letting her go.

Some claimed they heard police saying they believed she had explosives on her.

A man who filmed the incident told reporters: “They were searching her bags and I heard them saying there were detonators inside.

“I have never seen her before. They made her take the veil off while they searched her in a doorway.

"As she came off more police came off directly behind her.

"About five minutes before a guy was standing directly next to the bus stop with an ear piece.

"I thought he was lost but he was obviously orchestrating the entire operation."

Scotland Yard confirmed the woman was not arrested, but said six other people have now been arrested in connection with the operation targeting an address in Harlesden Road in Willesden – five of them at or near the house and one at a home in Kent.

The woman who was shot when armed police raided the house at around 7pm remains in hospital under police guard and has not yet been arrested because of her condition, which is described as serious but stable.

Police said the armed entry was necessary due to the nature of the intelligence they had received and involved officers firing CS gas.

The 20-year-old man who is understood to have accompanied the women on the bus was arrested near to the Harlesden Road address, while a 16-year-old male and a woman aged 20 were arrested at the house.

A man and a woman, both aged 28, were arrested when they returned to the house later the same evening.

A 43-year-old woman was arrested in Kent shortly after the main operation.

All those arrested remain in custody at a south-east London police station on suspicion of preparing acts of terror.

Three separate addresses were searched as part of the operation, including the one in Harlesden Road.

Scotland Yard said the incident has been referred to the Metropolitan Police’s Directorate of Professional Standards and to the Independent Police Complaints Commission “as a matter of course”.

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