The Asian Age
UK PM outlines anti- terror measures
Britain will make it easier for the police to seize passports from wouldbe jihadist fighters, increase air travel checks and tighten controls on the movement of suspected radicals
London, Sept. 1: Britain will make it easier for the police to seize passports from would- be jihadist fighters, increase air travel checks and tighten controls on the movement of suspected radicals under plans announced by Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday. Mr Cameron was addressing the House of Commons after Britain on Friday raised its terrorism threat level to “severe” because of concern about possible plots by radical Islamist fighters returning from Iraq and Syria with battlefield experience.
The move, which means an attack is considered “highly likely”, came after the killing of US journalist James Foley, apparently by a man with an English accent who belonged to the jihadist group Islamic State ( IS), formerly known as ISIL.
The threat level is now at the second highest out of five possible categories, its highest since July 2011. Mr Cameron has warned that the advance of IS raises the prospect of “a terrorist state on the shores of the Mediterranean”.
“What we’re facing in Iraq now with ISIL is a greater and deeper threat to our security than we have known before,” he said at a Downing Street press conference Friday.
The centre- right Conservative prime minister was facing a struggle to per- suade his coalition partners the Liberal Democrats to back his plans.
Negotiations were reportedly still going on Monday morning, just hours before Mr Cameron was due to deliver his statement.
Civil liberties are a key part of the centre- left Liberal Democrats’ political philosophy and the party will be reluctant to back steps it sees as too draconian ahead of next year’s general election.
In an indication of the unease felt by some, former Liberal Democrat leader Menzies Campbell, a member of Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, said it could be illegal to stop British citizens returning home. “To render a citizen stateless is regarded as illegal in international law. To render them stateless temporarily, which seems to be the purpose of what’s been proposed, can also, I think, be described as illegal,” Menzies Campbell told the BBC.