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Britain is ‘home to 35,000 fanatical Islamists’ and 3,000 are ‘worrying’ MI5

Sunday 03-09-2017 - 02:50 PM
Ambulances, police vehicles and emergency services after Westminster bridge attack (Picture: Carl Court/Getty Images)
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Armed police officer
Armed police officer stands guard after Westminster terror attack (Picture: Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
London - Britain is home to 35,000 fanatical Islamists, and 3,000 are ‘worrying’ MI5 security chiefs, a top anti-terrorism official has said.

The UK has more radicalised Muslims than any other European country, EU counter-terrorism co-ordinator Gilles de Kerchove revealed.


He also warned how Isis will attempt a cyberattack on nuclear power stations or air traffic control systems within five years, possibly by paying Russian hackers to break into vital computer systems.

The official, who has been in his post since 2007, said: ‘The United Kingdom has identified 20,000 to 35,000 radicals.
‘Of these, 3,000 are worrying for MI5, and of those 500 are under constant and special attention.

Police officers at
Police officers at the scene after London Bridge attack (Picture: DANIEL SORABJI/AFP/Getty Images)
‘France has 17,000. Spain many less, but more than 5,000 I suppose. In Belgium almost 500 have been to Syria and there are around 2,000 radicals or more.

‘I wouldn’t like to put a concrete figure on it, but (in Europe) tens of thousands, more than 50,000.

‘We must select those who are really worrying and the most dangerous, and they should be monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week.’

Speaking in an interview to Spain’s newspaper El Mundo, he warned European countries will suffer further Isis-inspired attacks unless greater measures are taken to prevent them.

Asked about the 12-man cell who murdered 16 and injured more than 100 in attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils last month, he said: ‘We will suffer more attacks. Most, except for Brussels and Paris, were not directed from Raqqa, but they were inspired there. And later Islamic State claims responsibility.
Masked man speaks
Masked man speaks in American accent in Isis video (Picture: REUTERS/FBI/Handout)
‘The propaganda of Isis no longer requires people to go to the caliphate. They can attack in their places or origin, including on a small scale with home-made weapons.’

The terror chief said it was too early to ‘draw definitive conclusions’ but that security chiefs know much greater efforts are needed in prevention.

He said: ‘How do we detect the first signals (of radicalisation), no matter how weak they are? They succeeded in preparing the attacks under the radar.’

Mr de Kerchove said it was vital that European intelligence agencies and police properly analyse the data they collect and share.

In Catalonia, police were warned about Abdelbaki Es Satty, the alleged leader of the Barcelona cell, by counterparts in Belgium, but they failed to recognise his danger.

Mr de Kerchove also said so-called ‘easy targets’ must be protected with safer streets for pedestrians.

He added: ‘Bollards, the re-designing of pedestrian streets are necessary. There is a clear effect of imitation in terrorism, and it seems clear that something like Barcelona will happen again.’

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