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Counter terror police: 'Several attack plots disrupted'

The senior national coordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing has said that 'several attack were plots disrupted' last year amid a slew of arrests.

Counter terror police: 'Several attack plots disrupted'. Credit: PA

Last year's arrest figures demonstrate a considerable increase in volume, range and pace of counter-terrorism activity in the UK.

We have been running exceptionally high numbers of investigations, the likes of which we have not seen for many years.

Several attack plots have been disrupted, of various sophistication; from individuals planning to carry out lone attacks to more complex conspiracies, the majority seemingly directed by or inspired by terrorism overseas.

The partnership between police and MI5 is very effective, and we are experiencing very strong support from the communities.

– Senior National Coordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing Helen Ball


Kerry: Tackling IS threat is 'the challenge of our lifetime'

Tackling the threat posed by Islamic State militants is "the challenge of our time", US Secretary of State John Kerry has said.

Arriving in London for a summit of foreign ministries from around the world, Mr Kerry said there had been "sleeper cells" of extremists in place for a long time, planning attacks which were only now coming to fruition.

He said the aim of the militants was to attack Western values.

The truth is that these groups are planning, and have been planning for a long time - going back to Osama Bin Laden and 9/11 in New York - to attack Western interest and go after anybody that they disagree with.

A very neolistic, unbelievably oppressive sense of how people ought to live. We've seen them carried out in the most grievously horrendous fashion, with public beheadings.

I think this is a challenge for all of us - it's the challenge of our time.

– John Kerry, US Secretary of State

Cameron vows to do 'everything' to stop people joining IS

The Prime Minister has promised the UK will do "everything [it] can" to stop people travelling to Iraq to join Islamic State fighters.

Speaking in No. 10, David Cameron told his Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi:

The threat from extremist terror you face in Iraq is also a threat we face here in the United Kingdom.

We will do everything we can to help stop foreign fighters coming to your country and creating the mayhem we see today.

– David Cameron, Prime Minister

Warning of large-scale attacks organised by IS from afar

Islamic State militants could begin orchestrating terror attacks on the UK and other Western countries from their base in Syria unless urgent action is taken, the Foreign Secretary has warned.

Speaking to ITV's Good Morning Britain, Philip Hammond said the biggest threat to security currently was the potential for "lone wolf" attacks inspired by jihadist activities overseas.

But if extremists managed to keep hold of their territory in the Middle East, he warned, the UK could expect to see organised attacks being planned and executed from afar.

It comes as a meeting is set to be held at Lancaster House in London to discuss the global response to the terrorist group.


Defeating IS militants crucial 'for security of Britain'

Islamic State militants seeking to "subvert and destroy the values of democracy" must be defeated, the Foreign Secretary has warned - saying action was crucial "for the security of Britain."

Foreign ministers from around the world were due to fly in to London today for a top-level summit discussing how to take the terror group down.

Support for opposition fighters, such as the Kurdish People's Protection Units, will be among the topics on the table Credit: Reuters

US secretary of state John Kerry, Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi and French foreign minister Laurent Fabius will be among leaders from 21 countries joining the talks.

They will focus not only on military support for opposition fighters but ways to cut off Islamic State finances, stop its influence spreading and preventing foreign fighters joining their ranks.

In an article for the Daily Telegraph, Philip Hammond said:

Some say that Britain should leave this fight to others. But we cannot sub-contract the safeguarding of our nation's security.

Nor can we ignore an organisation that seeks to subvert and destroy the values of democracy, free speech, freedom of religion and the rule of law that are so fundamental to our way of life.

– Philip Hammond, Foreign Secretary

British jihadi faces years in prison for terror offences

A British jihadist, who was pictured holding the severed head of a man in Syria, is facing years behind bars after admitting terrorism offences.

A court heard that Imran Khawaja spent six months training in a terrorist camp. He then tried to come home after faking his own death in battle.

The security forces say Khawaja is 'a dangerous man and a trained terrorist' and they still don't know what he may have been planning.

ITV News' UK Editor Rohit Kachroo reports:

UK jihadi caught after cousin convinced him to return

A British man who attended a terror training camp in Syria was caught at Dover after being convinced to make the journey home with his taxi driver cousin.

Father-of-four Tahir Bhatti, 44, had urged 27-year-old Imran Khawaja - who also went by the alias Abu Daigham al Baritani - to return to the UK in June last year because his parents were not well.

Khawaja then persuaded his cousin to drive him home from the Middle Eastern country in order to avoid the more frequently used route for jihadis - via flights to and from neighbouring Turkey.

The pair used an encrypted messaging app and communicated with a series of code words in an attempt to mask their plans, the prosecution said.

Khawaja pleaded guilty to a string of terror offences including preparation of terrorist acts and attending a terrorist training camp.

Bhatt, of no fixed abode, today pleaded guilty to assisting an offender, but previously denied other charges, which the judge ordered be left on file.

British jihadi faces jail over Syria terror trip

Imran Khawaja pictured with heavy weaponry.

A British jihadi who was reported dead as he returned home from Syria now faces a lengthy prison sentence after admitting a string of terror offences, it can be reported.

Imran Khawaja - who was previously a resident of Southall in London - spent half a year in the war-ravaged country last year and was pictured holding the severed head of a man.

As the 27-year-old was returning home he was widely reported to have died on the battlefield in Syria after terrorist group Rayat al-Tawheed falsely announced his death.

At an Old Bailey hearing last month, Khawaja admitted preparation of terrorist acts as well as attending a terrorism training camp.

He also admitted receiving weapons training and possessing a firearm for terrorist use, but denied a charge of soliciting murder with and against people unknown.

His pleas can only now be reported since two co-defendants admitted terror charges and the prosecution decided not to pursue a trial.

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