• United States



by Dave Gradijan

Terrorist Threats Escalate in Britain

Nov 10, 20062 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

British spy agency MI5 is tracking about 1,600 suspected Muslim extremists who are plotting at least 30 terrorist attacks in Britain, agency head Eliza Manningham-Buller told a London audience Thursday, according to Reuters.

Manningham-Buller said most of the suspects are British-born with links to al-Quaida, and the planned threats may even call for the use of chemical and nuclear weapons, Reuters reports.

“And it is not just the U.K., of course. Other countries also face a new terrorist threat: from Spain to France to Canada and Germany,” she said, according to Reuters.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair told Reuters that the threats can be contained only with strict antiterror laws and efforts to fight the recruitment of young people as terrorists.

“This is a threat that has grown up over a generation. I think [Manningham-Buller’s] absolutely right in saying it will last a generation,” Blair told Reuters.

Antiterrorist authorities in Britain have said the threat has grown since the London train bombings in July 2005, Reuters reports, and they have prevented at least five major strikes since then, including the plot this past August to blow up trans-Atlantic airplanes with liquid explosives.

Manningham-Buller said the number of terrorism plots being investigated by security authorities has jumped by 80 percent since January, according to Reuters.

“Today we see the use of homemade, improvised explosive devices,” she said, according to Reuters. “Tomorrow’s threat may, and I suggest will, include the use of chemicals, bacteriological agents, radioactive materials and even nuclear technology.”

Reuters reports that Manningham-Buller’s warnings weren’t meant to alarm the public, but simply to give an honest assessment of the growing threat.

Compiled by Dave Gradijan

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