Birmingham locals shocked by terror link

Birmingham: In the well-heeled district of Edgbaston, residents are struggling to understand how their cricket-loving corner of Britain’s second city Birmingham could be linked to the terror attack in London.
Earlier, armed police stormed an apartment on Hagley Road, wedged between restaurants selling pizza and Persian food, one of six locations raided just hours after a car and knife rampage outside parliament that killed three. Eight people were arrested in the raids across Birmingham and London.
“I was shocked. That’s my neighbours,” said Muhammed Ali, a 20-year-old retail worker. “It’s scary.”
Edgbaston, home to one of Britain’s top cricket grounds and some of the central English city’s most sought-after addresses, is unused to the sight of armed policemen blocking off their streets.
“It’s a very calm area. There are loads of university students here so it’s very surprising this happened right here,” said Lucas Camoes, a 23-year-old warehouse worker. “I don’t feel safe at all. A bit paranoid.”
The post-industrial city has been associated with militant plots in the past, but few in Edgbaston would have linked their neighbourhood to the IS group which claimed the London assault was carried out by one of its “soldiers”.
A police cordon surrounded the flat on Hagley Road, with two local police officers standing guard outside the brown front door while detectives from London went inside.
The blinds were down on one window, and cardboard covered the other.
The flat’s owner turned up to collect the mail from the Shiraz restaurant next door, but he said he knew little about his tenants.
“I do own the flat but it is run by an agent. I have nothing to do with the tenants,” the man said, without giving his name. The extent of Birmingham’s links to the attack has yet to become clear. — AFP