SAS ‘task force’ will shoot to kill
ARMED special forces troops are being deployed on London’s Tube network with orders to kill terrorists attempting to carry out mass casualty attacks.
A task force comprising covert surveillance experts from the Special Reconnaissance Regiment and members of the SAS has been trained to target terrorists on aircraft, buses and trains.
Male and female troops will travel in pairs disguised as couples to monitor any suspicious passengers.
The undercover teams will be armed with Glock 9mm semi-automatic pistols to “take down” gunmen and suicide bombers with head shots.
The soldiers are experts in close-quarters killing techniques after spending months in training at the SAS base in Hereford.
Mock-ups of trains, aircraft and buses were used so they could be prepared for a wide variety of attacks.
Teams have also been issued with “soft-nose” bullets which will not pass through a body when fired at close range, limiting the risk to other passengers.
The unit was formed after British spies learned that an attack on the London Underground was likely.
The move, which was planned prior to Friday’s bomb attack, was approved last month by a Whitehall counter-terrorist cell composed of members of MI5, MI6, senior civil servants and military chiefs. Sources have told the Daily Star Sunday that some of Friday’s Tube bomb terror cell may have been members of so-called Islamic State who have left Syria in recent months to carry on their fight in the UK.
MI5 believes up to 300 fanatics have returned from Syria and Iraq over the past few months and many are committed to waging a campaign of terror in Britain.
It is also feared that hardened IS fighters could come back to the UK and train a new wave of British-born jihadis in bomb-making techniques and terrorist tactics.
One source said: “The task force is composed of some of the most experienced special forces personnel in the Army.
“The unit is composed of both male and female personnel from the Special Reconnaissance Regiment who are trained killers and can pose as couples while travelling on public transport.
“They are trained in rapid-fire techniques which involve emptying a magazine of bullets into a suspect’s head and face in a matter of seconds.
“It’s the only way of preventing a suicide bomber from detonating a device. What we saw on Friday could just be the beginning of a series of attacks on the British transport network.
“This bomb failed to detonate but we may not be so lucky in the future.”