MI5 chief says Pakistan-linked al-Qaida threat to UK is not yet over

January 7th, 2009 - 1:27 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Jan.7 (ANI): With three out of four al-Qaida and Islamist-related terrorist attacks in Britain having a Pakistan link, the head of Britains MI5 intelligence service, Jonathan Evans has warned that while the threat of this terror network has diminished, it would be naive to think that it is over.
In a report, The Telegraph quotes Evans as saying that potential jihadists have in the recent past made their way to Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia) by circuitous routes to receive training from Islamic militant outfits.
“There is no super highway. Lots of little lanes will get there,” Evans said.
He also played down any idea that the terrorists who attacked Mumbai in November had links to Britain.
“Alarming statements” had been made, but MI5 had not found “any connections of national security significance to the UK,” he said. Evans said that what the MI5 is very concerned about is the “upsurge” in plots by dissident republicans with sophisticated booby-trap bombs aimed at police officers.
He claimed that the London Olympic Games in 2012 was a potential target, but added that any real threat to the event was more likely to come from extremists already known to MI5, rather than any dedicated team established to target the games.
Evans warned that al-Qaida leaders still intend to mount an attack, and that there are individuals in Britain able to do so.
In a first newspaper interview by a serving MI5 director general, Evans warns that:
Israeli attacks on Gaza give extremists in Britain more ideological ammunition.
The Afghan conflict and its outcome has a “direct impact” on UK domestic security.The international economic crisis could affect Britain’’s security.
Dissident republican groups in Northern Ireland are a growing threat.
Not getting access to emails and data on internet sites would be detrimental to national security.
Speaking on the centenary of the establishment of MI5, Evans said his agency believes “core-al Qaida”, the leadership based on Pakistan’’s north-west frontier, retains a strategic interest in carrying out attacks in the UK, using British nationals or residents.
He also pointed out to 86 successful prosecutions in terror trials since January 2007.
Evans predicted that the Israeli invasion of Gaza would see “extremists try to radicalise individuals for their own purposes”. (ANI)

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