The threat of homegrown terrorists attacking Britain is greater now than any time since the Sept. 11 attacks, a British Sunday newspaper reported, citing a leaked intelligence document.
More than 2,000 British-based Islamic terrorists are believed to be plotting attacks, according to a government threat assessment prepared this month that The Sunday Telegraph said it had seen.
“The scale of al-Qaida’s ambitions toward attacking the U.K. and the number of U.K. extremists prepared to participate in attacks are even greater than we previously judged,” the newspaper quoted the document as saying.
It said the document was being circulated between the Home Office, defense ministry, MI5 intelligence agency and Scotland Yard’s Anti-Terrorist Branch.
The Home Office declined to comment on the report, but said in a statement that security arrangements are under constant review.
‘Threat of terrorism ... is very real’
“As (MI5 Director-General) Eliza Manningham-Buller has stated publicly, the threat of terrorism in the U.K. is very real and includes the intent to kill people and damage our economy,” the statement said.
Manningham-Buller said in November that 1,600 people were suspected of involvement in terrorist plots against British targets.
Four suicide bombers killed 52 commuters in July 2005 transit attacks in London and security officials say they have foiled at least six other plots. Officials expect the number of plots to increase this year, newspaper said.