British police and security services have foiled around 40 terror plots on British soil since the 7/7 bombings, the Home Secretary has said.
Speaking at the launch of Counter Terrorism Awareness Week, Theresa May said that UK intelligence and security services have thwarted attacks which included “attempts to conduct marauding ‘Mumbai-style’ gun attacks on our streets, blow up the London Stock Exchange, bring down airliners, assassinate a British ambassador and murder serving members of our armed forces.”
However, she noted that “as the IRA once boasted, the terrorists only have to be lucky once”, and noted the murders of Drummer Lee Rigby on the streets of London by Islamist extremists and 82-year-old Mohammed Saleem, who was murdered by a Ukrainian far-right extremists who went on to try an bomb mosques in Walsall, Wolverhampton and Tipton.
The Home Secretary described the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) as “one of the most serious terrorist threats we face”. She continued:
“They have shown their brutality, by murdering, raping and torturing men, women and children in the territories they hold, and by murdering western hostages – including British citizens – in the most savage way imaginable. One of their terrorists has already struck in Europe, when earlier this year he murdered four civilians outside the Jewish Museum in Brussels. And ISIL have made no secret of their desire to bring death and destruction to the United Kingdom, the United States and to other western countries.”
During her speech, May also confirmed the introduction of a new Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill, which will controversially prevent UK companies, including insurance provider, from paying ransoms for British nationals kidnapped overseas.
The Home Secretary also said that the Bill mandate that internet service providers (ISPs) “retain Internet Protocol – or IP – address data to identify individual users of internet services”, despite complaints from privacy campaigners and the scandals about widespread overreach by the security services in monitoring all internet traffic highlighted by leaks from Edward Snowden.