Britain raises terror risk level

Published August 30, 2014
LONDON: Police personnel stand guard at Downing Street on Friday.—AFP
LONDON: Police personnel stand guard at Downing Street on Friday.—AFP

LONDON: Britain raised its terror threat risk level to “severe” on Friday because of fears over the situation in Iraq and Syria, meaning an attack is thought to be “highly likely”.

The move comes after the killing of US journalist James Foley, apparently by a man speaking with an English accent who belonged to the militant group Islamic State (IS), formerly known as Islamic State of Iraq and Al Sham (ISIS).

While there was no intelligence to suggest that an attack on Britain is imminent, Prime Minister David Cameron said there was “no doubt in my mind “that IS had its sights set on targets in Europe.

“What we are facing in Iraq now with ISIS (or IS) is a greater and deeper threat to our security than we have known before,” he told a press conference just after the threat level was raised.

“We are facing a terrorist organisation not being based in a country but seeking to establish and then expand its own terrorist state.”

The increase in the threat level comes ahead of a Nato summit being hosted by Mr Cameron’s government in Wales from next Thursday.

The threat level is now at the second highest level out of five possible categories and is at its highest since July 2011.

Mr Cameron said he was to give a statement to parliam­ent on Monday about planned new laws cracking down on British would-be militants.

These include removing passports more easily from people suspected of wanting to travel to fight in Iraq and Syria or returning from there.

IS posted a video last week in which a masked militant with a London accent is seen executing Mr Foley, who had been missing since his capture in northern Syria in 2012.

There is growing concern in Mr Cameron’s government that, as well as travelling to fight abroad, British passport holders heading to Iraq and Syria could return to commit attacks on British soil.

More than 500 Britons have travelled to Syria or Iraq to fight alongside militants in the last few years, according to the intelligence services.

Ministers are also under pressure to step up action to prevent the radicalisation of young Muslims in Britain.

Anti-terrorism police this week urged Britons to identify “aspiring terrorists” among family members, friends and neighbours. The number of arrests has also been going up.

British police made 69 arrests in the first half of 2014 on suspicion of offences including travelling abroad for terrorist training — a rate five times higher than in 2013.

Police said they would be increasing the number of visible patrols as well as implementing other unspecified security measures from Friday.

Published in Dawn, August 30th, 2014



The establishment pivot
18 Jan, 2022

The establishment pivot

It is a sad reality that the power matrix continues to revolve around the establishment.
18 Jan, 2022

Remittances growth

THE hefty growth in remittances from Pakistanis living abroad continues to defy forecasts to the contrary. New State...
18 Jan, 2022

China-Iran deal

THE China-Iran strategic deal that has recently taken effect is more than just a long-term bilateral agreement...
Security policy unveiled
Updated 17 Jan, 2022

Security policy unveiled

PAKISTAN’S freshly unveiled National Security Policy has broadened the traditional concept and included economic...
Bold decisions
Updated 17 Jan, 2022

Bold decisions

IT is a double blow within a matter of days. The Islamabad High Court’s order last week to demolish a navy golf...
17 Jan, 2022

Rohingya camp blaze

A HUGE blaze in a refugee camp housing members of the Rohingya community in Bangladesh last week has left up to ...