70 British jihadists who went to fight for ISIS are now plotting attacks in this country, government official warns
- Chilling warning comes from national counter terrorism chief Scott Wilson
- Home Office official warns that ISIS will pose a threat for a ‘long, long time’
- ISIS has a support network that al-Qaeda could only dream of, Wilson says
- A fifth of 350 returning jihadists are ‘high threat’ extremists
- More than 800 British citizens have travelled to join ISIS in Iraq and Syria
Britain is under threat from 70 jihadists who have returned from fighting for ISIS in Syria and Iraq and are currently plotting attacks here, a senior government official has warned.
In a chilling warning about the danger posed by the terrorist group, the national counter terrorism co-ordinator Scott Wilson warned that ISIS could not be destroyed soon and would pose a threat to national security for a ‘long, long time’.
He said a fifth of the 350 British jihadists who have returned to the UK are ‘high threat’ extremists, who are suspected of plotting or wanting to carry out attacks or spreading radical propaganda.
They are also suspected of seeking new recruits for ISIS as they plan further attacks on European soil.
More than 800 British extremists are estimated to have travelled to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS.
Those who return are monitored by security services and police or are referred to Prevent, the counter-extremism programme.
Mr Wilson told the Security and Counter Terror Expo in London yesterday that ISIS had grown a support network that al-Qaeda could only dream of, The Times reported.
He warned: ‘I cannot answer where it is going to go.’It [the terrorism threat] is going to be with us for a long, long time.’
ISIS claimed responsibility for the deadly attacks in Paris last November, which killed 130 people, and also the Brussels attacks last month, which killed 32.
The group has been targeting Britain for months and international security chiefs warned earlier this week that ISIS terrorists are planning nuclear and chemical attacks here.
Among those involved in the Paris and Brussels attacks were EU citizens who had travelled to Syria. At least one of them posed as a refugee as part of the migrant crisis last year, which saw more than a million people fleeing to Europe.
British security experts have warned that despite Britain not being part of the border free Schengen zone, its border security is not secure enough.
Former Metropolitan Police commissioners, an independent reviewer of terror laws, an ex-border chief and police boss said controls on EU migrants are inadequate and should be stepped up considerably.
They said the deadly terror attacks on Brussels and Paris must act as a ‘wake up call’ for the Government, demanding they tighten border procedures to ‘make Britons safer’.
The security chiefs called on the Government to ‘review security at our borders’ – irrespective of the outcome in June’s EU referendum.
Speaking at the counter-terrorism expo earlier this week, both Nato and the EU said there are ‘justified concerns’ that ISIS jihadists are working on obtaining chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear materials to carry out attacks on the EU.
‘With CBRN [chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear materials], there is a justified concern.’ Jorge Berto Silva, deputy head of counter terrorism for the European Commission said.
Dr Jamie Shea, deputy assistant secretary general for emerging security threats at Nato, told the annual Security and Counter Terror Expo: ‘We know terrorists are trying to acquire these substances.’
The conference also heard that ISIS is working on trying to implant bombs in human bodies and hack driverless cars.
This follows warnings earlier today that ISIS is planning on targeting holidaying tourists by posing as ice cream and T-shirt sellers at European beach resorts.
German media reports that ISIS is sending jihadists to pretend to sell refreshments before detonating suicide vests and bombs buried under sun loungers at Spanish, French and Italian resorts.
The BND – Germany’s equivalent of MI6 – learned from its Italian counterpart of the ISIS plots to bring bloodshed to holiday resorts, popular daily newspaper BILD said on Tuesday.
BILD said the plans involve the use of automatic weapons on crowded waterfronts, suicide bombings and explosive devices buried in sand beneath sun loungers.
According to BILD the beaches which intelligence chiefs say are definitely targeted include resorts in southern France, the Costa del Sol in Spain and both coasts in Italy.