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Authorities arrested three men in central London suspected of terrorism-related crimes, and searched a business and four homes in the city. Three of the five men arrested last week on suspicion of plotting terrorist attacks on the UK remain in custody.
Foreign Secretary Hammond said the UK has not ruled out participating in coalition airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria. Defence Secretary Fallon urged other Middle Eastern countries, especially Turkey, to join the battle against the Islamic State, and said Parliament currently is not ready to approve joining coalition airstrikes in Syria; he also stated that the UK and the US cannot alone be the "saviors" of Iraq and Syria. Police have been given until Oct. 14 to question four men arrested in London on Oct. 7; one of the suspects is medical student Tarik Hassane, and at least one of the suspects had spent time in Syria. The four allegedly were plotting a terrorist attack on the UK. Mounir Rarmoul-Bouhadjar, who was arrested in October 2013 along with Erol Incedal, has admitted to possessing a bomb-making guide; the trial on terrorism charges was previously secret.
RAF jets carried out an airstrike last night against Islamic State fighters near Ramadi who were firing on Iraqi forces. Whitehall officials acknowledged the credibility of reports that two British jihadists were among some 180 Islamic State fighters swapped last month by Turkey for 46 Turkish personnel held captive by the IS in Mosul. The group of fighters turned over to the IS in the swap also reportedly included three French citizens, two Swedes, two Macedonians, a Swiss, and a Belgian.
Police are investigating the appearance of UK jihadist Abu Saeed al Britani in a recent IS video. Prime Minister Cameron called for a special forces raid to capture IS executioner "Jihadi John." Ex-Gitmo inmate Moazzem Begg is planning to sue the British government on false imprisonment charges; he has admitted to having been "involved in training young men to defend civilians against war crimes by the Assad regime." A senior Muslim Council of Britain official said the Islamic State is "hijacking the religion." Lord General Richards, former head of the British army, said its size needs to be increased as Islamic extremism presents a long-term challenge that cannot be addressed simply by airstrikes. A Whitehall official said about 100 British jihadists in Turkey are afraid to return to the UK for fear of imprisonment but also fear being killed by the IS in Syria for defecting.
Former Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg, who had been jailed on terrorism charges, including the allegation that he attended a terrorist training camp in Syria between October 2012 and April 2013, was released from Belmarsh Prison after charges were dropped. The West Midlands police chief refused to discuss the "new material" that led to the dismissal of the charges. The family of a south London teenage girl who left last week for Turkey to join Islamic State fighters issued an appeal for her to return. RAF Tornadoes targeted the Islamic State in Iraq.
One day after the British military was authorized to join the international coalition's airstrike campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq, two Cyprus-based Tornado jets have completed a reconnaissance mission. Trevor Brooks a.k.a. Abu Izzadeen, a convicted terrorist from east London who is one of 11 Islamists arrested on Sept. 25 and 26, was charged with lying about his whereabouts to authorities; the other 10 men, including extremist cleric Anjem Choudary, have been released on bail until January. Choudary claimed that the UK's entry into the coalition against the Islamic State has "pulled Britain into a very bloody war that will have manifestations on the streets of London."
The Parliament voted to approve the deployment of six Tornado jets to support the air campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq. Defence Secretary Fallon said the campaign would be long and would not consist of a "series of immediate hits," and would be aimed at preventing the "slaughter of civilians" by the terrorist organization. Cabinet ministers have said that the Islamic State cannot be defeated without hitting its bases and operations in Syria. The day after his arrest with eight other people suspected of membership in a terrorist organization, extremist cleric Anjem Choudary has been released after questioning. The Home Office is taking over the Passport Office, which had been privatized and was in disarray.
The Islamic State released a video showing British hostage John Cantlie, a journalist seized in Syria in November 2012, promising to show "the truth" about the IS in future videos. UK Muslim groups and leaders called for the IS to release British aid worker Alan Henning, whom IS recently threatened to murder.
The government is said to be giving serious consideration to joining the military airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq. As part of an ongoing investigation, counterterrorism police raided a house in Cardiff and seized materials from it.
Prime Minister Cameron vowed that Britain will hunt down the Islamic State killers of UK citizen David Haines. He listed steps the UK will take against the Islamic State, including supporting US airstrikes, but did not indicate that the UK will be conducting airstrikes. Police are questioning a man who boarded a crowded train in London during rush hour on Sept. 11 and announced he had a bomb.
Defence Secretary Hammond said after consulting with his German counterpart that the UK will not be taking part in any airstrikes in Syria, as that was ruled out last year. The Prime Minister's office maintained, however, that regarding the use of air power and the like in Syria, "nothing has been ruled out," and said Hammond had been referring to strikes against the Assad regime.
The UK is sending £1.6 worth of arms and ammunition to the Iraqi government and the Kurdish regional government in Iraq to help them in their battle against the Islamic State. Defence Secretary Fallon described the shipment as "an initial gifting package" sent at the request of the Iraqi government.
Authorities evacuated Luton Airport, about 30 miles north of London, after a suspicious item was found in the security search area. Incoming flights were canceled and the airport road was closed. The item was later destroyed in a "controlled explosion." Sir Peter Wall, the outgoing head of the Army, warned that the UK has little idea of the capabilities and strength of the Islamic State, but said the organization "will pose an even great threat if we take no action against them."
Prime Minister Cameron said there must be no appeasement for the Islamic State and that the UK will continue its policy of not paying ransoms, and vowed that the IS will be "squeezed out of existence" by a coalition of regional and Western partners. Foreign Secretary Hammond said the UK will look at every option for freeing a British hostage being held by the IS, but said the UK must deal with the group on the basis of its "wider threat ... to the British public," and he did not rule out airstrikes.
Prime Minister Cameron shelved plans that would permit police to temporarily strip terror suspects of citizenship at the border while they are being investigated. He said the UK is considering joining the US in conducting military strikes against the Islamic State. Lawmakers investigating the "Trojan Horse" plot to impose an Islamist curriculum in Birmingham schools heard of instances, including the showing of a violent jihadist video in one of the schools and "anti-Christian chanting being led by a teacher during an assembly," and that the Birmingham city council had been reluctant to address the school problems and witnesses were afraid to give evidence in the inquiry. The head of London's counterterrorism police said new high-visibility policing will continue across the country for the foreseeable future due to the increasing threat of terrorism. Sally Jones a.k.a. Sakinah Hussain, 52, a Muslim convert from Chatham, is said to have joined the Islamic State in Syria after marrying jihadist Junaid Hussain. Glasgow-born Aqsa Mahmood, 20, who joined Islamists in Syria in 2013, urged UK Muslims to join the fight.
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.
The Islamic State militant shown beheading US journalist James Foley in a recent IS propaganda video is said to be a Londoner called "John" who guards IS' Western hostages in Raqqah, Syria; UK authorities are working with the FBI in tracking him down and have asked Londoners to help identify him. Khadijah Dare, 22, a Lewisham woman married to a Swedish IS fighter who calls himself Abu Bakr, has reportedly vowed to become the first woman to behead a British or US prisoner; she is thought to be in Syria with her husband and three-year-old son. Brustchom Ziamani, 19, a Congolese convert to Islam, was arrested in Camberwell on Aug. 19 while carrying a bag with a hammer and a knife wrapped in an Islamic flag; he has been charged with preparing terrorist acts. The suspect had told another person he intended to commit a Lee Rigby-type attack on military or government personnel.