LONDON - British authorities are tracking almost 30 terrorist plots involving
1,600 people, the country's domestic spy chief said in remarks released Friday,
warning that young British Muslims are at risk of being radicalized by
It was the first public estimate
of the threat by the head of MI5, Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, who said her
agency and police are monitoring 200 cells actively engaged in plotting or
aiding attacks in Britain and abroad.
A general view of the headquarters of
Britain's internal security service MI5 , in London Friday Nov. 10, 2006.
The head of Britain's MI5 spy agency, Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller has
said British authorities are tracking almost 30 terrorist plots involving
1,600 individuals, many of the suspects were homegrown British terrorists
plotting suicide attacks and other mass-casualty bombings. Prime Minister
Tony Blair backed the assessment of his spy chief and warned the terrorist
threat 'will last a generation.'. [AP]
More than a year after the suicide attacks on London's transit system,
Manningham-Buller predicted the fight against terrorism would last a generation.
"It is a sustained campaign, not a series of isolated incidents," she said in
a speech to a small audience of academics Thursday, according to a transcript
released by the spy agency on Friday. "Radicalizing elements within communities
are trying to exploit grievances for terrorist purposes."
"It is the youth who are being actively targeted, groomed, radicalized and
set on a path that frighteningly quickly could end in their involvement in mass
murder of their fellow UK citizens, or their early death in a suicide attack
or on a foreign battlefield," she said.
Manningham-Buller said MI5 had foiled five major plots
since the July 2005 transit bomb attacks in London, which killed 52 commuters
and the four suicide bombers.
Officials are also "aware of numerous plots to kill people and to damage our
economy," she said. "What do I mean by numerous? Five? Ten? No, nearer 30 that
we currently know of."
While current plots use homemade bombs, Manningham-Buller warned future
threats would come from "chemicals, bacteriological agents, radioactive
materials and even nuclear technology."
Prime Minister Tony Blair said he agreed with the spy
chief's assessment that the threat from international terrorism "is serious, is
growing, and will, I believe, be with us for a generation."