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UK Security Officials Issue Warning Amid Gaza War, Cite 9/11-Level Extremist 'Chatter' – News18

Last Updated: March 03, 2024, 11:49 IST

London, United Kingdom (UK)

An undated image of people taking part in a protest in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza in London. (Credits: Reuters)

Senior security officials privately warn MPs of a rising terrorist threat on British soil due to the Gaza conflict, urging preventive measures.

In confidential briefings to their lawmakers, high-ranking British security officials have expressed grave concerns about the escalating terrorist threat linked to the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza. The surge in extremist communication intercepted by UK intelligence agencies mirrors the heightened levels observed before the September 11 attacks in the United States, UKโ€™s Daily Mail reported.

The officials flag the possibility of coordinated terrorist activities or lone wolf attacks, underlining the potential risks posed by individuals radicalized by the ongoing conflict. They caution that the Middle East conflict serves as a recruitment platform for global terror organizations, exploiting the tensions to lure new members.

British politicians are warned of the increased risk of extremist activity during the upcoming Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a period historically associated with heightened tensions and potential security threats. The alarming volume of extremist rhetoric, described as โ€œoff the scaleโ€ by insiders, raises fears of an imminent attack reminiscent of the spike in hate speech following the 9/11 attacks, according to the Daily Mail.

Former UK Home Office Minister Robert Jenrick also voiced concerns about the stretched resources of intelligence services and law enforcement agencies in combating Islamist extremism. Security officials disclosed details of confidential meetings held with lawmakers since December, highlighting the urgency of the situation. Underlining worries about the long-term impact of radicalisation, particularly among young British Muslims, British officials flagged the potential for attacks similar to the 7/7 bombings or the murder of Lee Rigby by Islamist extremists,

A senior Conservative official said that terrorist groups are exploiting the Gaza conflict to enhance their fundraising and recruitment efforts, leveraging the heightened tensions for their benefit. Conservative Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Alicia Kearns, slammed the governmentโ€™s failure to raise the national threat level in response to the escalating situation. She stressed the gravity of the crimes committed by Hamas and called for a stronger response to the heightened global terrorism risk.

Jonathan Hall KC, the independent reviewer of counter-terrorism legislation, echoes concerns about the surge in extremist rhetoric and hate speech targeting specific groups. He warns of the danger posed by individuals and groups motivated by a โ€œgrievance narrative,โ€ targeting the UK due to its alliances with the US and Israel. In response to these threats, calls for proactive measures to counter extremism and hate speech online gain momentum.

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