Nicholas Cecil, London Evening Standard, August 29, 2014
Britain’s terror threat level was dramatically raised to severe today amid fears that UK jihadists returning from Iraq and Syria could launch attacks.
The severe warning means an attack is “highly likely”, rather than the earlier assessment of substantial where a terror strike is “a strong possibility”. Home Secretary Theresa May stressed there was no intelligence to suggest an imminent attack.
After the decision by Britain’s Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, she added: “The increase in the threat level is related to developments in Syria and Iraq, where terrorist groups are planning attacks against the West.
“Some of those plots are likely to involve foreign fighters who have travelled there from the UK and Europe to take part in those conflicts. We face a real and serious threat in the UK from international terrorism. I urge the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police.”
Scotland Yard Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe warned days ago that close to 200 potentially “militarised” fighters are back in London. He also proposed UK jihadists have their passports revoked to stop them returning here.
Islamic State have slaughtered thousands as they seized control of swathes of Syria and Iraq. They also beheaded US journalist James Foley, 40, in revenge for US air strikes in Iraq to stop the killings. Mr Foley and other hostages were guarded by a group of British jihadists, known as “The Beatles”, with one–“John”–featuring in the video of his killing.