Some of the British army solders – arrested on Tuesday for belonging to a banned far-right group and for allegedly planning terrorist attacks – were detained in Cyprus.
The men, aged 22 to 32, were detained on suspicion of being involved in the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism and of being members of the group National Action.
The neo-Nazi organisation became the first far-right group to be outlawed in Britain last year after the murder of member of parliament Jo Cox, whose killing the group had praised.
Sources told Sky News the soldiers were arrested in Brecon, Ipswich and Dhekelia situated in the Sovereign Base Area (SBA) in Cyprus, which is the base of operations against Islamic State territories in Syria.
Three of the four reportedly serve with the Royal Anglian Regiment, which has its main bases in Woolwich and Cyprus and has been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- UK police arrest four suspected of far-right terror plot
- Cyprus police chief in UK terror meeting first
- UK online and offline hate crime ‘must be taken equally seriously’
West Midlands Police said the suspects are a 22-year-old man from Birmingham, a 32-year-old man from Powys, a 24-year-old man from Ipswich and a 24-year-old man from Northampton.
National Action was banned in December 2016 by the Home Secretary, meaning it is a criminal offence to be a member.
Amber Rudd told Parliament at the time: “National Action is a racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic organisation which stirs up hatred, glorifies violence and promotes a vile ideology, and I will not stand for it.
“It has absolutely no place in a Britain that works for everyone.”
The group conducts “provocative street demonstrations and stunts aimed at intimidating local communities”, according to the official list of banned groups, which says it tries to recruit young people.
The document also links National Action with the murder of MP Jo Cox in 2016.
The phrase “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain!” – said by her right-wing extremist killer Thomas Mair in court – is associated with the group.
Twenty-two members of National Action were arrested in 2016, according to police.