Seven people have been arrested in Birmingham as part of a counter-terrorism operation.

It has been confirmed that the six men and one woman were detained overnight on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism in the UK.

However, the exact nature of the suspected offences has not been disclosed.

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A West Midlands Police statement said: "Searches are now being conducted by specialist teams at… properties in the city… [and] the suspects are being held for questioning at a police station in the West Midlands Police area."

The Guardian newspaper reports that police believe the arrests are linked to al-Qaida-inspired terrorism, and that all those arrested are full British passport holders.

A spokeswoman for West Midlands police said six men were taken into custody in the Moseley, Sparkbrook, Sparkhill, Ward End and Balsall Heath areas of Birmingham between 11.30pm on Sunday and 1am on Monday.

She added that a 22-year-old woman from Saltley, Birmingham, had been arrested at 6.30am this morning. She was arrested on suspicion of failing to disclose information contrary to the Terrorism Act 2000.

West Midlands police's assistant chief constable for security, Marcus Beale, also said in a statement: "The operation is in its early stages so we are unable to go into detail at this time about the nature of the suspected offences.

"However, I believe it was necessary to take action at this time in order to ensure public safety."