Results tagged “United Kingdom”
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The government raised the terror alert level to "severe," the second highest level, due to concerns that terrorists in Syria and Iraq are planning attacks against the West. Urging vigilance, the head of national counterterrorism police said, "[I]t is highly likely that a terrorist attack could happen in the UK."
The head of Scotland Yard warned that about 250 militarized UK jihadists have returned home after fighting in Iraq and Syria, and said most of the estimated 600 who have traveled to those conflict zones were from London. He called for tougher counterterrorism measures, including revocation of citizenship for jihadist fighters and the reintroduction of some type of control orders, as well as a crackdown on hate preaching.
British ambassador Peter Westmacott warned that among the 70 UK jihadists arrested after returning to Britain, a number were carrying "very specific" instructions for terrorist missions in the UK. British intelligence is coming close to identifying the Islamic State jihadist who beheaded American journalist James Foley; among those being investigated is UK rapper-turned-jihadist Abdel Majed Abdel Bary. The UK plans to send non-lethal equipment to Kurdish forces fighting the Islamic State; Westmacott also indicated that given the IS' record of seizing weapons and other support intended for the moderate Syrian opposition, the UK and US' caution about providing weapons to the Syrian rebels "was perhaps well-founded." Last year, 3,527 illegal immigrants likely entered the UK despite failing border checks; authorities located 846 of the absconders, but about 2,700, or 76 percent, remained at large. Shadow home secretary David Davis criticized proposed new antiterrorism laws as insufficient, and said British jihadists should be stripped of UK citizenship and be banned from returning to the UK.
Lord Dannatt, the former Chief of General Staff, said the UK must work with Bashar al Assad to defeat the Islamic State. Defense Secretary Hammond disagreed, saying it would not be "practical, sensible or helpful." The head of Parliament's intelligence committee observed that sometimes you have work with nasty people to get rid of even nastier ones. A current counterterrorism official said he was recommending tougher application of Tpims (Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures) on terror suspects, but a former official said no Tpims are currently in place. A former MI6 officer said investigators are closing in on the identity of the jihadist who murdered US journalist James Foley.