Jihadists plan ‘ Paris style’ attacks in UK
ISLAMIC extremists are planning Paris- style attacks across Britain, the national head of counter- terrorism warned yesterday.
Islamic State has switched from police, military and government targets to broader plots to attack our way of life, he said.
And Britain faces the threat of “enormous and spectacular” attacks by the jihadists as they “try to build bigger attacks” and wage war on Western lifestyles.
The November 13 atrocities in Paris last year – in which gunmen and suicide bombers killed 130 in coordinated attacks – was one example of the change in policy, said Scotland Yard Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley.
The extremists targeted crowds at a rock concert and a football match as well as people drinking in bars.
“In recent months, we’ve seen a broadening of that, much more plans to attack Western lifestyles,” said Mr Rowley.
“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.”
He added: “You see a terrorist group that has been acting as a cult to use propaganda to radicalise people to act in their name.
“You also see them trying to build bigger attacks.”
Mr Rowley said that the terror group, also known as Daesh, is encouraging jihadists who have received military training in Syria to attack targets in northern Europe.
In the past three years, the number of arrests of terror suspects has risen by 57 per cent compared to the previous three years. About half were charged with criminal offences.
Last year, three- quarters of those arrested were Brit- ish nationals, 14 per cent were female and 13 per cent were aged 20 and under.
The number of girls and women and the number of teenagers is a new trend, Mr Rowley said.
“That would not have been the picture a few years ago. That is an indication of the effect of the propaganda and the way the messages of Daesh are resonating with some individuals,” he added.
Scotland Yard has seen more than 20 families and about 50 youngsters appear in family courts in the past year over concerns about radicalisation.
Police increasingly use psychologists to advise on how to deal with those at risk of being influenced by extremists.
The number of trained firearms officers across the UK is being increased in the wake of the devastating Paris atrocities.