Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Anti-terrorist police in Britain are tackling an accelerating number of plots by violent Muslim Jihadi extremists

John Steele:

Scotland Yard anti-terrorism branch is involved in an "unprecedented" 70 investigations, Peter Clarke the head of the Metropolitan Police Anti-Terrorist Branch and national co-ordinator for anti-terrorist investigations, warned yesterday. More than 60 people are facing trial on terrorist allegations. Two-thirds of those have been charged since last July.

In one of the most sombre and detailed statements yet on the threat to Britain from Islamic extremist terrorists, Mr Clarke, who is heading the inquiry into last year's July 7 bombings said the intelligence picture includes some "sinister" threats. "There are some 60 individuals awaiting trial in the UK for terrorist-related offences. This is unprecedented and the flow of new cases shows no sign of abating - if anything it is accelerating," he said.

"Some of the cases relate to individuals; some to networks. Even more alarming than the gravity of the allegations are two other factors: that the majority relate to the activities of British citizens against their fellow countrymen; and the extreme youth of some of those charged."

A 16-year-old is among those arrested and facing a charge of conspiracy to murder.

Mr Clarke did not address the recent anti-terrorist raid on a house in Forest Gate, east London, in which two brothers - one of whom was shot in the shoulder - were arrested and later released. Police found nothing incriminating in the house, raising questions about the nature of intelligence flowing into Scotland Yard and MI5 and how they dealt with it.

However, Mr Clarke said Scotland Yard's Anti-Terrorist Branch now had "more active investigations than ever".

"Despite increases in resources we are running at near capacity. There is a lot of intelligence that requires investigation, some of it is very sinister. It is a very concerning intelligence picture - that is the simple and honest way of putting it."

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