National security agency MI5 and counter terror police chiefs have met to discuss the possibility of raising the UK’s threat level to ‘critical’, meaning an attack is imminent.
The revelation comes just 24-hours before the nation stops to remember the dead from the 7/7 terrorist attack in 2005 in which 52 London commuters were killed.
Threats from the Islamic State to attack the West during Ramadan have prompted the re-think on national security. The top level meeting follows the terror bombing in Tunisia that claimed the lives of 30 holidaying Britons.
The Daily Express reports a ‘well-placed security source’ revealed that security chiefs were homing in on three areas of particular concern; East London, the West Midlands and Greater Manchester. The source said:
“The authorities are literally monitoring thousands of people who are deemed a threat. They had their work cut out before the rise of the Islamic Sate but the threat of terrorism now is probably at it’s highest for eight years.
“The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre meets regularly and there have been serious discussions about whether to raise the nation’s threat level to ‘Critical’. “To make that leap is a very, very big step because what it is basically saying to the public is that we are about to be attacked.
“For that reason the data has to be watertight to make such a decision and for the time being there isn’t enough credible evidence to do so. However the discussions are ongoing and nothing has been discounted. We are facing a really serious threat from Islamic State.”
The source said the East End is a hotbed for IS supporters and a number of “persons of interest” were being monitored there.
Meanwhile, the government confirmed yesterday it will fund two permanent memorials to UK victims of terror. Prime minister David Cameron said one will honour those who died in the Tunisia beach attack, and a second will commemorate Britons killed in other terror attacks overseas.
Families of the 30 British victims of the attack in Sousse will be consulted on where their memorial will be. A service will also be held in the autumn, dedicated to those caught up in the attack which killed 38.
“Those who lost their lives in Tunisia last week were innocent victims of a brutal terrorist atrocity,” Mr Cameron said. “It is right that we mark and commemorate them and others murdered by terrorists overseas appropriately and support the loved ones they have left behind in every way we can.”