greps på måndagen. Det handlar bl a
om Mohammed Irfan, som frigavs från
internering på Guantanamo 2005.
Sedan dess har han varit inblandad i ett
försök att kidnappa och halshugga en
brittisk soldat som tjänstgjort i Afghanistan.
Bland de övriga finns imamen Mohammed
Rizwan och förskolläraren Salma Kabal.
The alleged Birmingham plot is considered ‘the biggest
in numbers and scale’ since the end of 2010, according
to officials in the security services.
Back then, nine suspects were charged with plotting
a Christmas bomb blitz on London landmarks.
All nine are still awaiting trial.
There have been other arrests since, but nothing
to rival dawn raids in Birmingham, leading to six
men and one woman being taken in custody on
suspicion of plotting a mass casualty attack.
The case is a reminder that – while Al Qaeda-
inspired terrorism has not been making headlines
this year – the threat to the UK remains grave.
There are a number of reasons why people may
have felt less at risk in recent months.
Chief among them is the killing of Osama bin
Laden and the deaths of other senior Al Qaeda
figures in the lawless borderlands between
Pakistan and Afghanistan.
This has led officials in Washington to speak
of the much reduced threat posed by the
However, long before the killing of its leader,
Al Qaeda was acting as an inspiration for
would-be fanatics in Britain, rather than playing
an operational or planning role in attacks.
Terrorists are no longer necessarily imported
from overseas, but radicalised in the UK over
the internet. All those arrested yesterday hold
There was also a reduction in the published
UK terror threat level in July, moving it down
from severe to substantial .
Severe means the risk of a terrorist attack
is considered to be a strong possibility
and ‘might well occur without further warning’.
The substantial level – which officials do not
intend to change after yesterday’s arrests –
means an attack is a strong possibility.
Security sources say the lower threat does not
mean there has been a reduction in terrorist activity,
but rather that plots are being detected and disrupted
The workload – the number of potential terrorists
who are being monitored – is as great as at any time
in the past five or six years, officials say.