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

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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.

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