Britain: 13 terror attacks foiled since 2013

British security services foiled 13 potential terror attacks since 2013, says senior counter-terrorism policeman.

Elad Benari ,

Jihadists (illustration)
Jihadists (illustration)

British security services have foiled 13 potential terror attacks in the country since 2013, Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism policeman said on Monday, according to AFP.

Mark Rowley, an assistant commissioner of London's Metropolitan Police, said incidents inspired by the Islamic State (ISIS) group were a "large part" of the problem although Al-Qaeda remained a significant threat, while the far-right was also an issue.

He was speaking at the launch of a campaign for more community involvement in combating terrorism and revealed that one-third of the most high-risk investigations had been helped by information from the public.

"Together, the UK intelligence community and police have disrupted 13 UK terrorist attack plots since June 2013," Rowley said, according to AFP.

"The threat is becoming more varied and the move towards low-tech attacks on crowded places, like those we have seen in major European cities and beyond, makes it even more important everyone remains vigilant," he added.

"We've got over 500 investigations at any one stage," said Rowley.

British terror experts recently warned that ISIS terrorists are planning "indiscriminate attacks in innocent civilians" in Britain, while British Security Minister Ben Wallace warned in January that ISIS wants to carry out a mass casualty attack in Britain and has "no moral barrier" to using chemical weapons.

A study from the Henry Jackson Society, a conservative think tank, found Islamic-inspired terror offences almost doubled, from 12 each year between 1998 and 2010 to 23 each year in the following five years.

The threat level for international terrorism in Britain has been "severe", meaning an attack is considered highly likely, since August 2014.

There have been several arrests of terror suspects in Britain in recent weeks. Late last month, five teenagers were arrested in London on suspicion of preparing terrorist acts.

In addition, a 44-year-old British man was arrested at Gatwick Airport on suspicion of preparing terrorist attacks.

In January, a 50-year-old man was arrested at London Heathrow airport on suspicion of a terrorism offense.