- MI5 director general Andrew Parker gave a stark warning on Tuesday. He said terrorists are planning attacks on Britain with unprecedented pace and determination. Parker claimed MI5 is now foiling one major terror plot a month. 2017 has seen four successful terror attacks, which claimed 36 lives.
Terrorists are targetting the United Kingdom with a greater pace and intensity than ever before, according to the head of the MI5 intelligence agency.
Andrew Parker, MI5’s director general, said the threat to Britain is “more diverse” than ever before, ranging from elaborate plots organised overseas to spontaneous eruptions of unplanned violence by individuals.
In a rare public appearance, Parker told journalists that significant attempted attacks are now occurring more frequently.
He said MI5 had stopped 20 plots in the past four years, seven of which (more than one third) were in the past seven months.
There have been four successful attacks this year – Westminster Bridge, London Bridge, Manchester Arena, and Finsbury Park – resulting in a total of 36 deaths. A botched bombing at the Parsons Green London Underground station last month injured 30 people but did not kill anybody.
Parker’s claims tally with recent statistics from the UK Home Office, which showed that last year more people were arrested for terrorism-related offences than ever before:
- Home Office
Parker said: “The threat is more diverse than I have ever known: Plots developed here in the UK, but plots directed from overseas as well, plots online, complex scheming and also crude stabbings, lengthy planning but also spontaneous attacks.
“Attacks can sometimes accelerate from inception, through planning, to action in just a handful of days.”
He said MI5 is currently running 500 concurrent counter-terror investigations, and is monitoring 3,000 suspects. As many as 20,000 have been flagged as potential causes for concern, he said, but cannot be closely monitored because of finite resources.
Parker said the decline of ISIS in the Middle East – which is in the process of being expelled from its Syrian capital of Raqqa – could make the UK terror threat worse as British jihadists return home.
According to The Guardian, Parker said ISIS propaganda is now telling would-be fighters to stay in their home countries and commit terror attacks there, rather than travel to Syria or Iraq.
As many as 100 British jihadists have been killed fighting for ISIS, Parker said, and a further 850 are still alive.