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UK terror threat still high despite Daesh losses: Met chief

The Daesh (ISIL) terror group’s recent losses in Iraq and Syria are not likely to reduce the possibility of more terror threats in the UK, Britain most senior police officer has warned.

Speaking to delegates at the annual Lord Mayor’s defense and security lecture on Friday, Cressida Dick, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, listed the recent “ghastly” attacks that killed 36 people and hurt 200 in Westminster, Manchester, London Bridge and Finsbury Park.

“Since March this year, the tempo has changed,” Dick said, noting that while security forces have been able to foil six terror plots, she expected the figure to rise.

“Progress on the ground in Syria and Iraq does not necessarily translate into a reduction in threat here,” she added.

In addition to losing large swathes of its occupied lands in Syria, Daesh has also been pushed out of Mosul, Iraq’s third largest city, from the hands of Daesh following a months-long military campaign.

This general view shows police and rescue teams at the scene after a vehicle deliberately hit worshipers outside a mosque in north London, June 19, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

British Prime Minister Theresa May commanded the victory in Iraq, but also conceded that the terror group’s ideology could not be removed “through military intervention alone.”

Noting that as many as 13 lethal terror attacks had been foiled from June 2013 to March this year, Dick said Friday that the scale of the challenge was not to be ignored.

“We must not deny the scale of this challenge,” she warned, saying the MI5 and other British intelligence agencies had been monitoring 3,000 individuals across the UK who were assessed as posing the biggest threat.

“The bulk of this domestic threat seems to be from those who are inspired by overseas networks, though there have undoubtedly been some who have been more directly enabled by them and we should not assume that attempts by senior leaderships of overseas groups to direct UK attacks have gone away,” she added.

The law enforcement official also noted that her colleagues had arrested 14 far-rights extremists with “lethal capability and intent.”

May has been on many occasions criticized over her disproportionate attention to what she calls the threat from “Islamic extremism” while failing to notice the rise in the far-right terrorism threat.

While May has been busy blaming the recent wave of terror attacks in the UK over “evil” extremists influenced by a “perversion of Islamic teachings,” UK Home Office figures showed last month that nearly one third of people being monitored under the Channel anti-terror program in 2016-17 leaned towards extreme right-wing ideologies and were vulnerable to radicalization.

The UK national terror alert level remains at “severe,” the second highest level. This means that an attack is highly likely but not imminent.

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