By Jonathan Walsh
By Jonathan Walsh
Rabat – The United Kingdom’s national head of counterterrorism warned that the so-called Islamic State (IS) may be plotting terror attacks of ‘enormous and spectacular’ scale on British soil.
The remarks were made by Mark Rowley, Metropolitan Police Commissioner, during a briefing in London today. Rowley went on to claim that the number of terror-related offenses had hit record levels this past year.
In the wake of the Paris attacks last November, Prime Minister David Cameron had revealed that seven smaller scale terror attacks in the UK were foiled in 2015 alone. Rowley claims, however, that intelligence suggests IS is now looking to commit attacks on a much larger scale. Such attacks, he said, would represent the ‘natural next step’ for the radical organization that aims to attack ‘Western lifestyles’.
“In recent months we’ve seen a broadening of that… Going from that narrow focus on police and military as symbols of the state to something much broader,’’ Rowley said.
“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.”
Rowley also used his speech to warn of the increasing diversification of active IS members. The increasing number of women and children joining the IS is a dangerous new trend not found in previously existing extremist organizations. Statistics show that of all those arrested in the UK on terror-related charges last year, 14 percent were female and 13 percent were 20 years old or younger.
“That would not have been the picture that one would have seen a few years ago. That is an indication of that radicalisation, the effect of the propaganda and the way the messages of Daesh (IS) are resonating with some individuals,” Rowley said.