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UK detains terror suspect who traveled close to London's Olympic Park

LONDON -- British officials arrested a terror suspect after he traveled close to the Olympic Park in East London five times, a U.K. newspaper reported on Sunday, capping off a week of heightened security concerns in the run-up to the games later this month. 

The Sunday Telegraph reported without citing its sources that the suspected terrorist, believed to be a would-be suicide bomber with links to al-Qaida, had been taken into custody after crossing through the park five times.  

Security sources told NBC News, however, that the suspect never got into the park. 

Authorities in London are actively seeking out potential threats and have made numerous arrests ahead of the Olympics. NBC's Annabel Roberts reports.

Police did confirm that a man had been arrested for breaching anti-terrorism restrictions.

"A man appeared in custody at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Thursday 28 June charged with five counts of breaching a terrorism prevention and investigation measure contrary to the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011," police told NBC News in a statement.

The suspect, known only as CF, was arrested on May 22 and released on bail, police told NBC News. The Telegraph reported he had been arrested on Saturday. 

The newspaper reported that the man had been under surveillance for years after having reportedly traveled to Somalia to train with al-Qaida-linked militants and who attempted to visit Afghanistan for the same reason.

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A source at Britain's Home Office, the equivalent of the United States' Department of Homeland Security, told NBC News:

"I understand he was arrested at home. He breached (a TPIM) order five times with different rail journeys. But to stress, these were never incursions onto the park, just trips on public transport taken by thousands of other people every day. He got no restricted access."

British police say they have released without charge one of six people being held for an alleged plot to launch a terrorist attack. NBNC's Annabel Roberts reports.

Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures are legal orders that restrict suspect's movements, computer use and who they can meet. 

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CF had been wearing an electronic tag that traces his movements via GPS. NBC News tried without success to reach the suspect's lawyer. 

Rising tensions
The report's prominence -- it ran as the newspaper's top story -- underlined the British public's, or at least the media's, focus on security threats to the London Olympics, which are due to start on July 27. 

On Friday, police announced that seven men had been arrested on suspicion of terrorist offenses after a routine vehicle search turned up firearms and weapons in central England. On Thursday, officers in London detained six other terror suspects using stun guns and smoke grenades in an early-morning swoop on a home close to London's Olympic Park. 

Also on Thursday, armed police evacuated around 50 people and closed a major toll road in both directions in Central England after a passenger on the bus was reportedly seen pouring liquid into a box, which then started smoking.  The event turned out to be a false alarm caused by a passenger using an electronic cigarette that emitted a vapor. 

Scotland Yard and the Royal marines teamed up in a show of strength against terrorists who might target the Olympics, practiced high speed drills using helicopters and boats on the River Thames.

Security have told NBC News to expect an increase in sensitivity in the pre-Olympic period, which could result in an increased number of raids and arrests. These operations, the sources said, should not necessarily be seen as a sign of significantly more terror plots.

The issue of security is a particularly relevant one to Olympics organizers. The decision to award the Olympics to London was announced on July 6, 2005. Just a day later, London suffered its worst peacetime attack when four suicide bombers killed 52 commuters.

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And the games will see the country's largest peacetime security operation and involve tens of thousands of security officials, with 13,500 military personnel, 12,000 police and 10,000 private contractors. 

Intelligence officials say there has been an expected increase in chatter among extremist groups ahead of the games, but there are still no specific or credible threats targeting the Olympics. The terror level is labeled substantial, a notch below severe. A substantial threat level indicates that an attack is a strong possibility.

NBC News' Nanette van der Laan and Marie Hagen contributed to this report. 

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