Terrorist shooting gun (illustration)
Terrorist shooting gun (illustration)Thinkstock

The Syrian Civil War and Wednesday's attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine headquarters in Paris are connected, the head of London's MI5 security agency stated Thursday, saying unchecked Islamism is threatening the West on the large scale. 

"We know... that a group of core Al-Qaeda terrorists in Syria is planning mass casualty attacks against the West," MI5 head Andrew Parker told AFP Thursday. "Although we and our partners try our utmost, we know that we cannot hope to stop everything."

Parker stated that Islamists from Syria are intent on bringing their "twisted ideology" to the West, and plan to carry out major terror attacks at European and North American landmarks. 

"We still face more complex and ambitious plots that follow the now sadly well-established approach of Al-Qaeda and its imitators - attempts to cause large-scale loss of life, often by attacking transport systems or iconic targets," he said.

Parker concluded that the attacks were a "terrible reminder" of the Islamist threat, and went on to reveal that MI5 had stopped three attacks on British soil in the last month alone. 

Twelve people were killed in Wednesday's jihadist attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo - five cartoonists, three contributors, a guest at the magazine's editorial conference and a maintenance worker, along with two police officers.

The three Islamists who are the prime suspects in the attack - named by French police as 18-year-old Hamyd Mourad who voluntarily handed himself over to authorities on Wednesday night, and brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi, who are still at large - stated to cartoonist Corrine Rey before the shooting that they were working on behalf of Al-Qaeda.

Both Kouachi brothers had reportedly trained with Al-Qaeda, one in Yemen and one in Iraq.