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Terrorist attack on London ‘likely’ after lockdown

Scotland Yard’s Richard Smith has warned that a new attack on the capital is likely as the country emerges from lockdown.

Smith said counter terrorism officers and MI5 are currently pursuing ‘800 different leads and investigations’ into possible deadly plots, stressing that Londoners need to be on the alert for potential extremists and that the public’s help in providing further tip-offs was vital in preventing fatalities.

Smith, like many other Counter Terrorism Policing officers, has reiterated that the threat from terrorism has not disappeared during lockdown and that the danger came from both lone jihadis and terrorists radicalised in the UK, as well as others directed or inspired by ISIS supporters overseas.

Highlighting the continuing threat of an attack on a crowded place or other London site as lockdown restrictions are eased and numbers on the streets increase, Smith said that ‘London is and has been a target’ and that terrorists focus on the capital city for a number of reasons.

He said: “The public are very much our eyes and ears on this and so if they feel something is not right and are concerned, my message is always be vigilant and if you see something you are concerned about tell us. We will investigate because our aim is to keep people safe. We will continue to do that as thoroughly as we possibly can with our colleagues from MI5. The public are absolutely critical to our counter-terrorism effort. The information they give us is vital to preventing attacks in the capital.”

Discussing the threats from increasing rightwing actors, as well as those by the ISIS group, Smith said: “In an increasingly connected world it’s more difficult to differentiate what is entirely domestic and what has an overseas element. There are some individuals who may be directed by terrorist organisations based abroad. But equally there will be individuals inspired by what they see online which is being posted either in this country or elsewhere, and people who will act entirely of their own accord as lone actors.”

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