“Islamic State want to inflict an ‘enormous and spectacular’ terrorist atrocity on Britain and may have people trained to a paramilitary level to carry out attacks,” reports The (UK) Guardian, based on comments by Britain’s anti-terror chief.
“Mark Rowley, a Metropolitan police assistant commissioner, said terrorists still wanted to kill soldiers or the police and now posed a real danger of attacking western lifestyle targets,” the Guardian reported. “Privately, counter-terrorism officials see no sign of ISIS’s internet propaganda campaign being thwarted by community and government efforts and believe the group still has the same ability to attract devotees.”
Police have stepped up their planning for a marauding gun attack since the Paris attacks in November, in which concertgoers, diners and other revellers were killed.
Rowley, who leads on counter-terrorism for Scotland Yard, told a media briefing on Monday that the nature of the threat from ISIS, which he calls Daesh, was changing.
“In recent months we’ve seen a broadening of that, much more plans to attack western lifestyle. Going from that narrow focus on police and military as symbols of the state to something much broader. And you see a terrorist group which has big ambitions for enormous and spectacular attacks, not just the types that we’ve seen foiled to date.”
Previously, ISIS had been thought to be trying to incite individuals to stage small-scale attacks, possibly using knives or vehicles. It had been hoped that tougher laws had made the planning and execution of larger-scale “spectaculars” next to impossible.
But after the Paris attack and alleged plotting in Europe, Rowley and other counter-terrorism chiefs fear that Isis has the capability and intent to stage a mass-casualty attack in the west….
There were a record 339 arrests under counter-terrorism laws in 2015, 77% of which were British nationals, 14% were female and 13% were aged 20 and under….