Security chiefs in London are extremely concerned that Israel’s actions in Palestine will provoke a furious response by Islamic extremists based in the UK, with 4,000 active terrorists identified by a former head of the Met.
With the death toll in Gaza reaching 340 London has been put on a “high state of alert” following the violent clashes outside of the Israeli Embassy in Kensington and the worrying statistic that 4,000 terrorism suspects are active in the UK.
Lord Stevens the head of the Met disclosed the figure that up to 4,000 terrorism suspects are active in the UK, and stated that police and MI5 were “still too under funded and undermanned to cope with the task they face in the decades to come. And that’s how long this will last.”
Security chiefs in London are concerned that the escalation of violence in Gaza with the prospects of a ground offensive by the IDF could provoke a violent response by Arab and Muslim Londoners with minority elements influenced by Al-Qaeda plotting reprisal attacks in London.
MI5 have outlined the possible security threats posed by Al Qaeda:
These can be delivered to their targets in vehicles, by post or by a person. Currently an explosive device within a vehicle is the most prevalent means of attack. Unlike the Provisional IRA, who also used this method, Al Qaida networks often seek to ensure that their target is hit by employing a suicide operative within the vehicle to detonate the device at the required moment.
Suicide bombers are also deployed to carry an explosive device into the vicinity of a target individual or location. On some occasions the terrorists decide, as they did in the Madrid commuter train attacks in March 2004, to detonate their devices remotely, so that they can go on to perpetrate further attacks.”
Al Qaida have orchestrated a campaign of shootings and close quarter attacks targeted against Westerners in Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Most recently, on 6 December 2004, gunmen mounted an assault on the US consulate in the Saudi city of Jeddah, in which five of the consulate staff and four of the attackers were killed. Al Qaida claimed responsibility for this attack. In Europe, an extremist shot dead the Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam in November 2004.
There has been an increase in the number of kidnappings taking place, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan. The kidnapping of UK citizen Kenneth Bigley in Iraq in September 2004 resulted in his murder.
Surface to air missiles
An unsuccessful missile attack was attempted on an Israeli charter plane departing from Mombasa, Kenya, in November 2002. Similar attacks have been carried out in recent months against coalition aircraft in Iraq.
Chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) devices
To date, no such attacks have taken place in the UK. Alternative methods of attack, such as explosive devices, are more reliable, safer and easier for terrorists to acquire or use. Nevertheless, it is possible that Al Qaida and some other associated networks may seek to use chemical, biological or radiological material against the West. Usama bin Laden has referred to such devices on several occasions. In November 2001, he said that “if America used chemical or nuclear weapons against us, then we may retort with chemical and nuclear weapons. We have the weapons as a deterrent”.
In a June 2002 article, Al Qaida spokesman Sulaiman Abu Gaith also said “it is our right to fight [the Americans] with chemical and biological weapons”.
In April 2005, Kamel Bourgass, an Algerian with known links to Al Qaida, was convicted of plotting to manufacture and spread poisons, including ricin, in the UK.
Other methods of attack
In addition to physical attack methods, terrorists may also try to access information that may be of use to them, for example by infiltrating an organisation or securing the assistance of an “insider”.