Man charged with planning terror attack in UK after suspicious package left outside maternity unit sparked evacuation

A bomb disposal unit attends an incident at Leeds St. James' Hospital on Friday, Jan. 20, 2023.
By Thomas Brooke
2 Min Read

A man has been charged with planning a terror attack after being arrested at St. James’ Hospital in the English city of Leeds last Friday.

Counter-terror police and bomb disposal units were deployed to the maternity unit of the hospital after a suspicious package was reported to have been left outside. The hospital was evacuated as a precautionary measure, and the threat was handled by the authorities.

On Thursday, counter-terrorism police confirmed 27-year-old Mohammad Farooq had been charged with a string of terror offenses following the incident, including one charge of engaging in an act of terrorism, one charge of possessing an imitation firearm, and one charge of keeping an explosive with intent to endanger life or property.

Farooq remains in police custody and is scheduled to appear by video link at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

According to counter terrorism police chiefs, an investigation has proven the event was an “isolated incident.”

Detective Chief Superintendent James Dunkerley, head of Counter Terrorism Policing North East, said: “We understand people may have concerns following last week’s arrest and the resulting charges.

“For counter-terrorism policing and its partners, public safety remains our priority at all times and an extensive and thorough investigation has led to the charges brought today.

“We are satisfied that there is currently no evidence of an increased risk to the public, within our communities or the U.K. hospital estate, in connection with this investigation. Despite this, the U.K. threat level remains at substantial, and history has shown us we can’t afford to be complacent.

“Public vigilance is invaluable in supporting the efforts of counter terrorism policing and its partners to protect our communities from harm.”

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