Al Qaeda ter­ror­ists to swamp UK for Olympics

Midweek Sport - - SPORT - By SI­MON DEAN

BRI­TAIN will be­come a mag­net for dozens of ter­ror­ists dur­ing the Olympic Games, ac­cord­ing to a re­spected think tank.

Ter­ror nuts who have learned bomb-mak­ing skills us­ing al Qaeda on­line publi­ca­tions will join Bri­tish­born fa­nat­ics re­turn­ing to the UK from war zones in the Mid­dle East and Africa.

And the wors­en­ing eco­nomic cli­mate may dam­age ef­forts to pre­vent rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion of young Mus­lims in the UK.

The re­sult will be an un­prece­dented threat to Bri­tain and the Games, ac­cord­ing to the Royal United Ser­vices In­sti­tute (Rusi).

Amid fears of bud­get cuts to the in­tel­li­gence ser­vices, the Rusi – which em­ploys for­mer spies as se­nior an­a­lysts and has close con­nec­tions to the Bri­tish Armed Forces – said in a study that Africa and the Ye­men were also rapidly be­com­ing ma­jor ter­ror­ist train­ing ar­eas.

Rusi’s lat­est ter­ror­ism anal­y­sis said: “The grow­ing num­ber of lone wolves who are rad­i­calised and then in­dulge in some ‘ter­ror­ist tourism’ are not nor­mally part of a well-or­gan­ised pipe­line of guer­rilla fight­ers go­ing to the ji­had.

“More usu­ally, they are per­son­ally con­nected to fam­ily or friends who have al­ready gone to a con­flict zone.

“Bri­tons are thought to make up about 25% of the 200 or so for­eign fight­ers that the al Shabaab group in So­ma­lia cur­rently fields, and who are en­gag­ing in a deep­en­ing war on neigh­bour­ing Kenya and its tourist trade.”

Nige­ria is a newly iden­ti­fied po­ten­tial breed­ing ground for rad­i­calised Is­lamists with strong con­nec­tions to im­mi­grants in the UK fol­low­ing a year of vi­o­lence in Nige­ria blamed on ex­trem­ist group Boko Haram.

“It would be sur­pris­ing if both the tac­tics and the ten­sions un­der­ly­ing Boko Haram’s cam­paign do not spread some rip­ples among the Nige­rian eth­nic com­mu­ni­ties in the UK,” Rusi’s ex­perts said.

Spend­ing on the in­tel­li­gence ser­vices – GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 – has shot up 250% over the 10 years since 9/11 to £3.5bn.

From 2010, they faced a cut of around 11.3% – which has largely been put off as a re­sult of spend­ing on se­cu­rity for the Games.

DIS­AS­TROUS: al Qaeda could be tar­get­ting the Olympics

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