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LONDON — Britain has foiled around 40 plots since coordinated bomb blasts killed 52 people on London's transport network in 2005, a government minister said Monday. Home Secretary Theresa May said plans to carry out Mumbai-style gun attacks, bring down airliners and bomb the London Stock Exchange had been thwarted. The current threat level was largely driven by ISIS, which May said has "made no secret of their desire to bring death and destruction to the United Kingdom, the United States and to other Western countries." She said the country was more at risk from a terrorist attack than "at any time before or since 9/11."
An estimated 500 British nationals are thought to be fighting alongside ISIS, and this summer the U.K. raised its threat level for international terrorism from "substantial" to "severe." Speaking at London's Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), May said ISIS was not the only group posing a threat. She highlighted Nigeria-based Boko Haram and Al Shabaab in East Africa. She also announced proposed new terror laws: tightening airliner security, introducing anti-terror measures in schools and prisons and forbidding insurance firms to reimburse ransom payments. She also said Internet service providers would be required to retain users’ IP addresses, but the London-based advocacy group Liberty criticized this move as "blanket surveillance of the entire population."
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