As the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic nears a successful conclusion, another crisis is looming over the UK.
In the past four years, British authorities have foiled 29 attacks, 18 of which have been linked to Takfiri elements, 10 to far-right groups, and one to a group described as “left-leaning”.
British authorities are raising the alarm about a possible hike in terrorist attacks across the country after health-related restrictions are lifted.
The United Kingdom, having faced a major COVID-19 crisis over the past few months, has reported one of the highest death tolls and infection cases in Europe.
The outbreak has also hit the country's economy hard, but with the end of the pandemic in sight, another crisis is looming; a possible rise in terror threats.
The British police have issued fresh terror warnings as the country reverts to a state of normalcy and potential targets become more crowded.
London Police said that over the course of the pandemic and nationwide lock-downs, the terrorists' capabilities have remained unchanged.
They stressed that the extremists have never stopped planning for terrorist attacks, or radicalizing people as new recruits.
The Metropolitan Police said it has become increasingly easy for extremist elements to publish their content in cyberspace and target vulnerable people.
It seems to me that there isn't any real proper system anymore to be pursuing what is going on online and particularly with these apps, the Telegram, Signal, WhatsApp, etc.
And of course, you know, these should not all be put under surveillance. But we, many of us think anyway, that they are under surveillance by the companies that make the apps.
The police don't necessarily have access to information but the companies do.
So, the police have just kind of been carrying on as if they're still living in the 20th century, when of course the extremists, and even the terrorists, are way ahead of them.
Tony Gosling, Investigative Journalist
Currently, the terror threat level in the United Kingdom stands at substantial.
The level depends on how likely terror attacks would be carried out in crowded spaces, leading to mass casualties.
There are 5 levels of threat in the UK: low, an attack is highly unlikely; moderate, an attack is possible but not likely; substantial, an attack is likely; severe, an attack is highly likely; and critical, an attack is highly likely in the near future.
Both terrorist elements linked to groups like Daesh and al Qaeda, and far right domestic elements, pose a threat to the country.
In April 1999 three blasts hit different parts of the British capital London over three consecutive weekends, considered to be the deadliest far-right attacks on British soil.
An informant, Arthur (not his real name), who identified the bomber, now says it's only a matter of time before a similar attack is carried out.
Arthur asserts it's no longer like it was in 1999 when extremists spread their ideology by giving out flyers and that the availability and accessibility of extremist materials online means that similar attacks are certain to take place.
Over the past few years, the country has been hit by multiple terror incidents, killing scores of people.
One of the most notable was the Manchester Arena bombing, which killed 23 people, including the perpetrator. Ten of the victims were under 20.
Less than two weeks later, three terrorists, drove their van through a crowd on London Bridge before going on a stabbing spree. Eight people were killed in the incident and nearly 50 others were wounded.
Where you've had terrorist attacks in Britain we've seen almost all of them over the last five years, I think every single one In fact, we have evidence that the people who perpetrated these attacks were contacted to MI5, So, in other words, people phoned up saying: “This person is dangerous, and … you want to keep an eye on them”.
And then they went on to do (carry out) a terrorist attack, They managed to get hold of guns, bullets, knives, machetes, whatever it is they use for their terrorist attacks, including, bomb making equipment.
You would have thought that surely this is the basic job of MI5, if they get a phone call saying keep an eye on this person that they should actually be doing that through surveillance but (they) don't seem to be doing so.
Tony Gosling, Investigative Journalist
These were but a few incidents that have rocked the UK in the not so distant past.
Although the frequency with which the terror attacks are carried out in Britain has abated during the COVID 19 pandemic, the attacks have never stopped, which is an ominous sign for the British domestic security apparatus.