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Seven held in UK dawn raids

Foreign nationals seen as threat to national security

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Home Secretary Charles Clarke unveiled details of Britain's new anti-terror laws Thursday.

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Authorities in Britain have detained seven foreign nationals who are seen as a threat to national security, the UK Home Office said.

They were held after dawn raids on addresses in London and Manchester, northwestern England.

"Earlier today, the Immigration Service detained seven individuals in accordance with the Home Secretary's powers to deport the individuals whose presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good for reasons of national security," a Home Office spokesman told CNN.

"The Immigration Act 1971 gives powers to deport individuals and to detain them pending deportation. The Immigration service has detained the seven foreign nationals on this basis. They will be held in secure prison service accommodation and we will not disclose their names."

A Scotland Yard spokeswoman told CNN: "We can confirm that officers have supported this morning at approximately 6 a.m. the immigration services under the Immigration Act at a number of addresses across the capital.

"A number of individuals were detained by the immigration services. The police has assisted with the transfer of these individuals into the prison services.

"Metropolitan Police officers have made no arrests and have no taken any individuals into police custody."

Terror measures

The detentions arrests came on the day Home Secretary Charles Clarke gave details of new UK anti-terrorism laws. (Full story)

The most contentious measure is a proposal to extend the time police can hold terror suspects without charge from two weeks to three months.

Clarke said the volume of cases, the need to trawl through electronic evidence and to work with overseas intelligence agencies meant police needed more than 14 days to bring charges.

"The facts are that the modern world of terrorism requires a long time to ensure particular cases are looked at properly," Clarke said.

"I'm saying let's extend that 14 days. We are working on the basis that up to three months is the right time."

Four suicide bombings in London on July 7 killed 52 and wounded 700.

Last month 10 people were detained, including the alleged spiritual leader of al Qaeda in Europe, Jordanian national Abu Qatada, under the same legislation.

Abu Qatada is accused by Spanish prosecutors of being an inspiration for those who launched the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

In August, Prime Minister Tony Blair's government announced plans to deport hardline Islamists who incite or glorify militant attacks. Britain has signed agreements with some countries, including Jordan, to return them.

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