FoxNews on January 9, 2015, reported that Al Qaeda militants are planning an attack on the West, aimed at inflicting mass casualties on transport systems or at “iconic targets,” the head of Britain’s MI5 Security Service warned. Excerps below:
“A group of core al Qaeda terrorists in Syria is planning mass casualty attacks against the West,” Director General Andrew Parker said in a rare public speech to a select group at MI5 headquarters in London, Reuters reported.
“We know that terrorists based in Syria harbor… ambitions towards the UK – trying to direct attacks against our country, and exhorting extremists here to act independently,” Parker said.
Parker said trained al Qaeda militants in Syria plan to “cause large-scale loss of life, often by attacking transport systems or iconic targets” in the West.
U.S. and European intelligence suggests al Qaeda militants from Pakistan have traveled to embattled Syria, where they can find British volunteers to attack in the U.K., Sky reported. Parker said about 600 British extremists had traveled to Syria to join the ISIS terror group, which have recently taken control of large areas of Syria and Iraq.
While ISIS is the newest threat to the West, Parker suggested al Qaeda still has ambitions for a large-scale attack. He also discussed the challenges of stopping attacks by self –started “lone wolves.”
“We believe that since October 2013 there have been more than 20 terrorist plots either directed or provoked by extremist groups,” he said, citing deadly attacks in Europe, Canada and Australia. He said security services have stopped three potentially lethal terrorist plots inside Britain alone in recent months.
It is harder, he said, for agents to disrupt plans of small groups or “lone wolves” who act spontaneously, with minimal planning but deadly effect. The individuals are not part of disciplined, sophisticated networks, and often act with little or no warning.
Security experts say an Internet-driven, generalized rage against Western society can spark an attack at any time — like the massacre in Paris, an attack on a Jewish Museum in Belgium, or the slaying of a soldier in the streets of London.