- London was today placed on full alert for the possibility
of a double-pronged Christmas terror campaign.
- Anti-terrorist detectives fear that the capital could
be the target for both Islamic extremists and renegade Irish terrorists
trying to disrupt the peace process.
- Today Scotland Yard launched an urgent appeal to
to remain vigilant for the possibility of an attack. The warning is being
backed by an advertising campaign.
- Police believe the Real IRA may try to launch a terrorist
attack on the mainland in the run-up to Christmas following the recent
high-profile arrests of terror suspects in connection with the Ealing
and BBC bombs.
- However, detectives believe the most potent threat comes
from Islamic extremist groups or individuals who may try to carry out an
attack against civilians in London in retaliation for the military success
of the Western alliance in Afghanistan. An internal memo has warned senior
commanders across London to be on the alert for the possibility of suicide
- In particular security sources are worried about the
possibility of spontaneous revenge attacks if Osama bin Laden is killed
or captured by alliance forces.
- Senior police sources emphasise there is no specific
intelligence of a planned attack but it is believed secret terrorist cells
loyal to Bin Laden, which are capable of carrying out an attack, may be
already in place in Britain.
- One senior police source said: "This is a very
time. There is a perception that things are going well for the West at
the moment in Afghanistan and this is precisely the time that we need
to remain vigilant."
- The security services are alert to the possibility of
every type of attack in Britain ranging from threats to airlines, car
bombings, assassination attempts and suicide attacks along the lines of
those more commonly associated with Israel. Thousands of extra police
have been on anti-terrorist patrol in London protecting potential targets
such as Downing Street, Canary Wharf and the City airport.
- The Met police advertising campaign comes only days after
Home Secretary David Blunkett raised the possibility of a Christmas bombing
- In a BBC radio interview he warned that information from
intelligence sources suggested that Britain could be a prime target
of its alliance with the United States. Fears of an attack were raised
today in a briefing by Scotland Yard's Assistant Commissioner David Veness
and Deputy Assistant Commissioner Alan Fry, the head of the Anti-Terrorist
Branch. The Met has also issued a warning in an advertisement on page
18 of today's Standard.