Britisk etterretning regner med at det går 2.000 Al Qaida løs i Storbritannia som bare venter på å slå til i det som trolig blir selvmordsangrep.
Leder av MI5, Eliza Manningham-Buller, ga en alarmerende rapport i september om truslene fra jihadister. Hun sa etterretningen strever med å holde øye med 1.600 mennesker, organisert i 200 nettverk som har 30 ulike komplotter på gang. Nå tegner en ny rapport et enda dystrere bilde:
The number of British-based Islamic terrorists plotting suicide attacks against «soft» targets in this country is far greater than the Security Services had previously believed, the government paperwork discloses. It is thought the plotters could number more than 2,000.
Under the heading «International Terrorism in the UK», the document – seen by The Sunday Telegraph – states: «The scale of al-Qaeda’s ambitions towards attacking the UK and the number of UK extremists prepared to participate in attacks are even greater than we had previously judged.»
It warns that terrorist «attack planning» against Britain will increase in 2007, and adds: «We still believe that AQ [al-Qaeda] will continue to seek opportunities for mass casualty attacks against soft targets and key infrastructure. These attacks are likely to involve the use of suicide operatives.»
MI5 believes that soft targets, such as the transport system and economic targets such as the City of London and Canary Wharf, are most at risk.
A senior political source said the picture painted by the document was «particularly bleak and unlikely to improve for several years».
He said: «The Security Services have constantly warned that the task of countering Islamist terrorism is a daunting one. There will be more attacks in Britain.»
By Sean Rayment, Security Correspondent, Sunday Telegraph