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'Ammunition' man held at Heathrow

The man arrived in Britain on a flight from Washington.
The man arrived in Britain on a flight from Washington.

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London Heathrow Airport

LONDON, England (CNN) -- A Sudanese man has been arrested at London's Heathrow Airport under Britain's anti-terror laws carrying what appeared to be some kind of ammunition as he tried to board a flight to Dubai.

The passenger, who had flown in from Washington, was stopped by Metropolitan Police during a routine security check. Scotland Yard said the passenger was not carrying any weapons.

In Washington, a U.S. government official said the man had a few bullets in his pocket. He said it is unclear if the bullets were live ammunition and whether the passenger got them upon arrival in London or before his departure for London from Washington's Dulles Airport.

Initially, Scotland Yard said the man was being held under Section 1 of the Firearms Act -- not the terrorism act. However, officials later said the 45-year-old man was being held under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

Section 41 refers to the alleged involvement in the commission, preparation, or instigation of acts of terrorism.

The man was taken to a central London police station to be interviewed by anti-terrorist officers.

British officials said the suspected ammunition is being examined by forensic experts.

Virgin Atlantic Airlines confirmed the man flew to Heathrow on board its flight VS022 from Dulles International Airport near Washington.

In a written statement, Virgin Atlantic said the seized items did not pose a threat to the aircraft.

The airline pointed out that it's the Transportation Security Administration's job to screen passengers at Washington Dulles airport.

The U.S. government official said the passenger did not appear to be on any terrorism watch lists and was not being deported. He added it was unclear whether the bullets could be considered a threat on an aircraft if there was no way to fire them.

Still, the official admitted, "it is always of concern if he did get a piece of metal through the metal detectors," adding the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is investigating the incident.

The TSA put out a statement later in the day saying: "The Transportation Security Administration is working with its international airline and law enforcement partners to investigate this morning's incident at London's Heathrow airport involving a passenger on Virgin Atlantic Flight Number 22.

"At this time, the individual has been detained at Heathrow and is being questioned by law enforcement.

"The plane arrived in London early this morning after an uneventful flight from Washington Dulles Airport. The situation under investigation arose while the passenger was undergoing security screening prior to boarding a connecting flight at Heathrow.

"During the process, several pieces of ammunition were discovered in the man's possession."

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