Britain faces danger of 9/11 type attacks: Report

June 24th, 2008 - 6:49 pm ICT by IANS  

London, June 24 (Xinhua) Britain faces potential dangers of terrorist attacks by private jets and light aircraft in ways similar to the 9/11 attacks on the United States in 2001, Daily Telegraph reported Tuesday. Senior police officers have expressed “real anxiety” about the possibility of terror missions launched from small airports amid fears of lax security there, the daily said.

Such attacks would be “relatively simple” to orchestrate, Lord Carlile of Berriew, a government anti-terror expert, was quoted as saying.

The thousands of small, rented planes capable of travelling at high speed to Britain and the continent should be subjected to far stricter checks, he said.

The warning, contained in a 60-page report on the government’s efforts to fight terrorism, could prompt fears that Britain has been left open to a terrorist attack similar to the Sep 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, said the report.

There are an estimated 8,500 private aircraft and up to 500 “landing sites” in Britain, ranging from farmers’ fields to regional airports. These jets can be be hijacked and used as “vehicle bombs” to target the public.

However, there is no formal vetting by security authorities about who is landing and taking off from Britain’s airfields, even though an aircraft will be monitored by the Civil Aviation Authority once it is airborne.

Sometime, the origin of a flight could be difficult to know, said the report.

A plane flying from outside the European Union (EU) could touch down on an airfield in the EU and then be regarded by British authorities as coming from within the EU. “This is self-evidently unsatisfactory,” Lord Carlile said.

Meanwhile, Carlile raised concerns with internet search engine Google over the availability of terror-related material on the worldwide web.

He also raised the prospect of taking the Irish Republican Army off a government list of banned organizations because it had “dwindled to almost or actually nothing.”

Britain has heightened its concerns over terrorist attacks since a series of bombing attacks on London’s transport network July 7, 2005, which killed more than 50 and injured some 700.

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