UK terrorist threat level raised to ‘severe’, Theresa May says

The UK’s terror threat level is being raised from “substantial” to “severe” in response to conflicts in Iraq and Syria, Home Secretary Theresa May says.

The new alert level means an attack on the UK is “highly likely”, although Mrs May said there was no intelligence to suggest an attack was “imminent”.

It is the second highest of five possible UK threat levels.

PM David Cameron said at least 500 people had travelled from the UK “to fight in Syria and potentially Iraq”.

He said Islamic State (IS) extremists – who are attempting to establish a “caliphate”, or Islamic state, in the region – represented a “greater and deeper threat to our security than we have known before”.

During a news conference at Downing Street, Mr Cameron announced new legislation to make it easier to take passports away from people travelling abroad to join the conflict.

Efforts are currently under way to identify a suspected British jihadist who appeared in IS footage of the killing of US journalist James Foley.

National Policing Lead for Counter-Terrorism Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said security and protection measures were being increased from Friday.

Prime Minister David Cameron

Prime Minister David Cameron announced new measures to tackle terror suspects

In a statement Mrs May said: “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.

“The first and most important duty of government is the protection of the British people.

“We have already taken steps to improve our powers and increase our capabilities for dealing with the developing terrorist threats we face. That process will continue and the British public should be in no doubt that we will take the strongest possible action to protect our national security.”

She said the UK faced a “real and serious” threat from international terrorism, urging members of the public to remain vigilant.

Sourced by BBC News

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