7/7 attacks, 2005
David Wulff / Wikimedia Commons
At least 200 potential terrorists are actively planning suicide attacks while living freely in Britain, British intelligence chiefs have warned ministers. According to a report in the Sunday Telegraph, a senior intelligence source called the figure a "conservative" estimate of the threat facing the country from Islamist suicide bombers.
Security services estimate that about 2,000 Islamists based in Britain "are actively planning terrorist activity of some kind."
The figures are contained within a secret government report on the "enduring terrorist threat" facing Britain from al-Qaeda and affiliated organizations, the newspaper reported.
The warning comes as Britain begins preparations for next year's 2012 Olympic Games, which has been described by intelligence agency MI5 as the biggest security operation in the country's history.
Senior sources said that rather than targeting highly guarded targets within the Olympic Village or stadiums, terrorists will prefer to attack areas where crowds are likely to congregate.
Six men from Birmingham were arrested two weeks ago over an alleged suicide bombing plot which Lawfare Blog termed “homegrown-but-trained-abroad.” Two of these six, Irfan Nasser and Irfan Khalid, allegedly traveled to Pakistan to train, made "martyrdom videos," and planned to carry out a bombing campaign.
Another classified report, details of which reached the Telegraph, stated that suicide attacks had become the weapon of choice for al-Qaeda and its supporters "because of the level of fear that such attacks can engender."