British members of the Daesh (ISIL) Takfiri terrorist group should be hunted down and killed to ensure they never return back home, says UK Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson.
The newly-appointed senior official made the comments in an interview with the Daily Mail newspaper on Thursday, adding that there was deliberate targeting of UK-born terrorists by the armed forces fighting the Takfiri outfit in Syria and Iraq.
“Quite simply, my view is a dead terrorist can’t cause any harm to Britain,” Williamson said. “I do not believe that any terrorist, whether they come from this country or any other, should ever be allowed back into this country. We should do everything we can do to destroy and eliminate that threat.”
The British defense secretary said terrorist groups in Libya, Iraq and Syria were breeding grounds for plotting attacks in the UK, stressing that, “Our job in terms of eliminating will not stop this year, will not stop next year – it is something we have got to continue to pursue.”
Condemning British citizens who had gone abroad to join ranks of Takfiri terrorist groups, Williamson said they “hate everything that Britain stands for, hate our values,” adding that it was right for Britain to stop those people from returning home to perpetrate acts of terror.
“Our forces are right across the globe degrading and destroying that threat, making sure that these people who want to bring destruction, death, bloodshed onto our streets aren’t able to come back,” he said. “That is as important part of the jigsaw as what we actually do on the streets in Britain. That is about keeping Britain safe just as much as making sure we have the right response here in Britain.”
“We have got to make sure that as [they] splinter and as they disperse across Iraq and Syria and other areas, we continue to hunt them down. [We need to] make sure there is no safe space for them, that they can’t go to other countries preaching their hate, preaching their cult of death.” Williamson noted.
In similar comments made in October, Foreign Office Minister Rory Stewart said British nationals who headed to Syria to join Daesh should be killed before getting a chance to return home.
“I’m afraid we have to be serious about the fact these people are a serious danger to us, and unfortunately the only way of dealing with them will be, in almost every case, to kill them,” he said.
Authorities warned last year that around 850 UK nationals had traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside the terror groups that are wreaking havoc in those countries.
In early September, the European Union’s top terror official Gilles de-Kerchove warned that Britain was home to up to 25,000 Takfiri extremists who could pose a terrorist threat to the country and the rest of Europe.
According to Kerchove, about 3,000 of the suspects are considered a direct threat by MI5 – Britain’s domestic counter-intelligence and security agency.
Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said in September that fear of terrorist attacks in the UK was going to stay at its second highest rate for five more years because the risk posed from terrorists was “an unknown threat in our midst.”
Britain has recently been targeted by several Daesh-claimed terrorist attacks. The country increased the terror threat level to critical in the aftermath of a bombing that killed at least 22 people, including seven children, at the Manchester Arena at the end of a concert back in May.
Later in June, two attacks claimed the lives of at least ten people in central London. Three men rammed a van into people on London Bridge before launching knife attacks on people somewhere else in Borough Market. Both attacks were later claimed by Daesh.
Terrorist attacks so far this year have killed 36 people and hurt 200 in Westminster, Manchester, London Bridge and Finsbury Park. They were all carried out by people radicalized within the UK.
British Prime Minister Theresa 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.