Bristol was 'hours away' from terrorist attack, say police

Isa Ibrahim was 'hours away' from detonating a bomb at a Bristol shopping centre. Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

New details of a terrorist plot which would have brought death and destruction to the heart of Bristol have been revealed, as part of a campaign aimed at preventing any such attack in the future.

Isa Ibrahim was "hours away" from blowing himself up in a shopping centre, but he was thwarted by a chance call from a member of the public.

The 19 year-old student spent months locked in his small flat on the edge of the city researching how to make a bomb. He got as far as designing a suicide belt.

Detective Chief Inspector Matt Iddon, who worked on bringing down Ibrahim in 2008, has revealed just how close to came to putting Bristol's name alongside Nice, Paris and Brussels:

Britain's terror threat is currently at 'severe' which means an attack is highly likely. Counter terrorism experts are warning they can't prevent one on their own, and have shared Ibrahim's story to encourage members of the public to report anything suspicious.

That lack of contact with the authorities almost allowed him to slip through the net with what would have been devastating consequences.

A lecturer recalled a disturbing conversation she had with the teenager, "he was asking me which sort of different bacteria could be used to kill people. It was at that point I thought I should report to the management of the college."

Ibrahim was jailed for a minimum 10 years and later warned others against repeating his extremist actions. A message, counter terrorism police say, is just as relevant today.