|07-13-2007, 03:29 PM||#1|
Join Date: Apr 2006
attacks on the uk
Ex-Spy Chief Says More UK Attacks Likely
Friday July 13, 2007 4:01 PM
By DAVID STRINGER
Associated Press Writer
LONDON (AP) - A former British intelligence chief has warned that terrorists will mount another successful attack on Britain, despite their failure to carry out recent car bombings in London and Glasgow, Scotland.
Stella Rimmington, who led the domestic intelligence agency MI5 from 1992 to 1996, also said in an interview published Friday that, unlike Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his predecessor, Tony Blair, she believed that Britain's military role in Iraq has inspired young men to join terrorist plots against the United Kingdom.
Five suspects are being questioned over the three attempted attacks late last month in London's entertainment district and at Glasgow airport. All three makeshift car bombs failed to detonate.
``I don't think we should take a great deal of comfort from the fact that these latest bombs were botched,'' Rimmington told the Daily Mail newspaper. ``Creating homemade explosives is difficult and they will get it wrong, but they will get it right as well.''
The only man charged is Bilal Abdullah, a 27-year-old British-born doctor raised in Iraq who is accused of conspiring to cause explosions.
Brown said Wednesday he believed military action in Iraq and Afghanistan had no impact on the threat to Britain from terrorism, saying the country would be at risk in any case.
No nation could be secure when al-Qaida linked terrorists are ``determined to practice carnage across the world,'' Brown said.
Rimmington acknowledged that al-Qaida attacks predated the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, but said the significance of the wars should not be played down.
``Terrorism was around from this source before we went into Iraq or Afghanistan,'' she told the newspaper. ``But there is no doubt it has acted as a recruiting sergeant for a lot of these young men because of this sense of grievance about foreign policy.''
``If we had not gone to war I sense we would have had some of this, but not at the same level,'' she added.
MI5 head Jonathan Evans has said agents are tracking at least 30 plots within Britain and around 1,600 suspected terrorists.
Al-Qaida is stepping up its efforts to sneak terror operatives into the United States and has acquired most of the capabilities it needs to strike there as well, according to a new U.S. intelligence assessment that government officials described to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the report has not been finalized.
The government's top analysts concluded, however, that the U.S. has become a harder target for the extremist network, thanks to worldwide counterterror efforts since the Sept. 11 attacks.