Christian Action Network

Daily Terrorism News; WebPage @ www.ChristianAction.Org

Al Qaeda grooming British children to carry out terror attacks in UK

(Daily Mail) Al Qaeda is grooming children as young as 15 to carry out terror attacks in Britain, the head of MI5 warned today.

Jonathan Evans, the security services director general, said there was increasing evidence that violent extremists were targeting the young to create a new wave of terrorist recruits.

He also disclosed that up to 4,000 potential terrorists could be living in Britain – only half of whom have been identified by MI5 and police.

In his first public address since taking up his post this year, Mr. Evans told newspaper editors that the terror threat had yet to “reach its peak”.

He was speaking a day before new antiterror legislation is announced in the Queen’s Speech.

He said: “As I speak, terrorists are methodically and intentionally targeting young people and children in this country.

“They are radicalising, indoctrinating and grooming [them] to carry out acts of terrorism. This year, we have seen individuals as young as 15 and 16 implicated in terrorist-related activity. We are rightly concerned to protect children from exploitation in other areas. We need to do the same in relation to violent extremism.”

The spy chief said the overall number of people identified by MI5 as posing a direct terror threat had risen – from 1,600 last November to about 2,000 now.

But the figure could be double that, he warned: “We suspect that there are as many again that we don’t yet know of.”

He said the “al Qaeda franchise” was spreading from its traditional heartland in Pakistan to Somalia and other African and Middle Eastern countries.

A growing number of plots aimed at Britain were being directed from these areas and as a result there was “no sign” of the danger reducing.

Instead, al Qaeda was benefiting from a “steady flow of new recruits”, said the intelligence chief.

“It is important that we recognise an uncomfortable truth: terrorist attacks we have seen against the UK are not simply random attacks by disparate and fragmented groups.

“The majority … have taken place because al Qaeda has a clear determination to mount terrorist attacks against the United Kingdom. Al Qaeda is conducting a deliberate campaign against us. This campaign is dynamic and since last year we have seen it evolve even further. I do not think that this problem has yet reached its peak.”

Mr Evans, speaking to the Society of Newspaper Editors in Manchester, said MI5 and police had achieved considerable success in thwarting plots – such as the London and Glasgow bombing attempts of the summer.

He insisted the long-term protection of a “tolerant and open society” remained as important as short-term prevention to tackle the terror threat.

“The struggle against violent extremism relies not only on good intelligence and law enforcement, but also on the determination and perseverance of us all to resist extremism and to protect a decent, tolerant and open society,” he said.

“We know that the strategic thinking of our enemies is long-term. But public discourse in the UK works to a much shorter timescale whether the electoral cycle or the media deadline. We cannot view this challenge in such timescales.”

The comments appear to be aimed at the debate over new anti-terror legislation and reflect the concern of MI5 – which ministers insist they share – about the dangers of concentrating too much on tougher terror laws.

MI5 is expected to have 4,000 staff by 2011.

But Mr Evans said there was a limit to what intelligence could achieve: “We cannot know everything.

“There will be instances when individuals come to the notice of the security service or police but then subsequently carry out acts of terrorism. This is inevitable.”

He accused Russia of “unreconstructed” Cold War spying in Britain, diverting valuable resources away from MI5’s fight against terror. China too was spying in this country, he said.

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November 6, 2007 - Posted by | Blogroll, Homeland security, news, personal, politics, random, religion, Terrorism, Terrorism In The U.S., Terrorism News, Uncategorized, War-On-Terror

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