UK terror attack fears heightened by Israel-Gaza war

Reports of 'extremist chatter' at highest levels since 9/11 with Britain becoming a target, reports suggest

Demonstrations in Glasgow against the war in Gaza. The conflict has led to an increased threat of a terrorist attack on Britain. Getty Images
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Britain is facing a significant threat of terrorist attacks with the Israel-Gaza war leading to an increased likelihood of violence, it has been reported.

The amount of “extremist chatter” is said to be at levels not seen since the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in 2001, with the rising risk of a co-ordinated attack by terrorists or a lone perpetrator in the UK.

Plans are being drawn up by the government to ban extremist preachers from entering Britain under new Home Office proposals.

The threat of a potential terrorist attack is “rising rapidly” and has led to a heightened sense that Britain could become a target because of the government’s pro-Israel position.

There have been security briefings across Whitehall in the past week after the Mail on Sunday reported extremist discussions have been “off the scale”.

It is understood the war, where more than 30,400 Palestinians have been killed, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, has radicalised several people in Britain following the October 7 attacks in which more than 1,200 people died.

There is a concern that Ramadan, which starts next week, could lead to further issues, especially if there is no ceasefire in place.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also warned that extremism could “tear us apart” on the day of pro-Palestinian politician George Galloway's by-election victory in Rochdale.

While the current terrorism threat level is “substantial”, Britain's third-highest state that indicates an attack is likely, questions are being asked whether it should be raised to “severe”, which suggests an attack is “highly likely”.

Alicia Kearns, an MP and chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said that because of the Israel-Gaza war “there can be no doubt that the risk of terrorism globally has escalated gravely”.

She added: “I am surprised the national threat level has not been raised.”

The government’s independent reviewer of counter-terrorism legislation, Jonathan Hall, KC, told the Mail he had not “seen this level of open extremism out there since I was appointed in my role in 2019”.

Extremists have a “grievance narrative” concerning Britain, because it is seen as a “legitimate target for terrorists” due to its alliance with the US and Israel.

An increase in tensions across the Middle East and protests against Israel’s action in Gaza has led to more threats against British MPs for whom protection has been upgraded significantly.

Parliamentary officials are now considering stepping up security checks for the public entering Westminster, with proposals for personal identity cards, such as passports, to be shown to gain access.

Ministers are also drawing up plans to prevent “hate preachers” from entering the UK, focusing their attention particularly on extremists coming from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Indonesia, The Sunday Telegraph reported.

Ministers will also use existing powers to prevent entry of those deemed “non-conducive to the public good” and seek to add names of extremists to visa warning lists.

This is thought to include people who have previously given racist speeches or been involved in inciting violence or intimidation.

Updated: March 03, 2024, 11:33 AM