Government Warning Issued for United Kingdom
Drum Cussac has issued this latest warning for people traveling and living in the United Kingdom. This information is available to GeoBlue plan members from the GeoBlue website daily. Travel Safe!
Severity: 2 (Low)
Source: Drum Cussac
07/27/2016 (United Kingdom) – British churches have been urged on Tuesday, 26 July to review their security after the murder of an 85-year-old priest in Normandy. Specific advice on security measures has been issued by the police to the estimated 47,000 churches in the country, according to The Guardian. Despite there being no specific intelligence relating to attacks against the Christian community in the UK, the National Police Chiefs’ Council is urging the community to be vigilant.
The Islamic State’s (IS) Amaq News Agency claimed responsibility for the killing of Father Jacques Hamel and taking hostages in a suburb of Rouen in northern France. The two attackers stormed the church during morning mass on Tuesday. Police surrounded the church and shot dead both hostage-takers. The call to review security in churches also comes after a suicide bombing in Ansbach, Germany on 24 July. More than 15 people were injured, some of them seriously, when a bomber self-detonated outside of a music festival. Police found a video on the bomber’s phone showing him declaring his support for the leader of IS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Also in Germany, an IS-inspired teenager armed with an axe and a knife wounded five people on a train near Wurzburg on 19 July. The attacks highlight the threat posed by both international and homegrown terrorism.
The series of attacks in France and Germany demonstrate the capabilities of IS to carry out strikes beyond Iraq and Syria and also expose weakness in domestic and international border security measures and systems. These attacks may also have been staged in an effort to assert a narrative of victory in the face of losses of territory in Iraq and Syria. IS’ external operations arm has been encouraging and plotting terrorist operations inside Europe to diminish confidence in governments and foment discord among communities. Images threatening attacks in London and other major world capitals were reportedly posted on messaging app Telegram after the murder of the priest in France. British security officials believe the UK faces an “almost inevitable” terror attack by Islamists who have been militarised by IS.
The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre assesses the current threat from international terrorism for the UK as “severe”, the second highest, which means that an attack is highly likely but not imminent. Intelligence officials are investigating any possible ties between the attempted kidnap of a serviceman near an RAF base on 20 July and the international network of IS. If confirmed, this would provide more evidence of a greater external operations emphasis within the organisation. Previously, most of the individuals involved with IS had attempted to fight and train in Syria and then return home to the UK. Strong counter-terrorism efforts have thwarted such efforts and likely forced IS to tell its followers to stay in the UK and carry out attacks using whatever resources they have against targets they choose.
Plans are already in motion to boost the number of heavily armed police officers across the UK. However, there is the realisation that there could be a period when the terrorists are able to operate with little or no hindrance before counter-terrorism forces are deployed. According to a poll of some 600 British business leaders by YouGov, a UK-based international internet-based market research company, the majority of companies in the UK are ill-prepared for a terrorist attack. More than 80 per cent of those surveyed would fail a test that measures basic counter-terrorism preparedness. Such vulnerabilities can be exploited by terrorists and illustrate the need among many private companies to become more aware of the everyday domain of security preparedness.
Attacks in France and Germany have shown that terrorists are learning from one another and going after soft targets, underscoring this risk and the need for UK-based businesses to implement good security practices. There are fears that the number of terror plots is likely to increase due to the return of Islamic extremists from battlefields in Iraq and Syria. The threat also becomes more acute as IS pivots towards international terror following the anticipated breakup of its so-called caliphate at the hands of over 64 nation-states now in the US-led coalition.
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