Britain’s domestic intelligence agency, the Security Service (MI5), will have a unit dedicated to investigating far-leftists and anarchists plotting terror attacks in the United Kingdom.
MI5 has created the new unit to target left-wing, anarchist, and “single-issue terrorism”, or LASIT, with single-issue terrorism including extremists in the animal rights movement, according to The Telegraph.
Europe is already seeing cases of such acts of extremism, with two militant vegans being jailed last year for 15 attacks against butchers and other animal-product shops in France, in what was described as a legal first by French media at the time.
Last month in the UK, animal rights activists were condemned for “anarchist actions” and accused of encouraging “telephone terrorism” after they published the home addresses and telephone numbers of Conservative MPs who support a badger cull.
A Whitehall source speaking to The Times, however, said that the threat from left-wing terrorists was a “tiny fraction” of cases compared to the danger posed by jihadists and far-right extremists.
Three Arrested in Raids on Greek Far-Left Terrorist Group https://t.co/ZaMVuoEVY4
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 26, 2020
The formation of the unit comes as part of a shakeup following the Security Service taking the lead from police on domestic terrorism. The Times reports that two-thirds of MI5’s caseload is domestic terrorist threats including jihadist and far-right, with Islamic extremism still representing the greatest threat to the United Kingdom’s security.
Another 20 per cent is dedicated to dealing with the IRA, and the rest with hostile nations, such as China. MI5 and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said last month that the New IRA “still exists and is still dangerous”.
The New IRA was formed between 2011 and 2012, has around 500 supporters, and is linked to four murders. It is believed to be focused primarily on plotting attacks against police, however, admitted to the murder of journalist Lyra McKee last year. PSNI and MI5 also said, according to the BBC, that the New IRA has a “constant appetite” for obtaining weapons from overseas, but so far “has not been very good at it”.