London warned of 26/11 style terror attack

Last Updated: Monday, December 21, 2009 - 08:41

London: In the "bluntest" warning issued by
British police, Scotland Yard has said that businesses in the
city of London could face a Mumbai-style terror attack early
next year.

"Mumbai is coming to London," said a senior detective
from SO15, the Metropolitan police`s counter-terrorism
command.

The detective said companies should anticipate a shooting
and hostage-taking raid "involving a small number of gunmen
with handguns and improvised explosive devices", `The Sunday
Times` reported.

The warning — the bluntest issued by police — has
underlined an assessment that a terrorist cell may be
preparing an attack on London early next year, it said.

Patrick Mercer, Chairman of the Commons counter-terrorism
sub-committee, said the threat was "very real".

Officials now report an increase in "intelligence
chatter" -- communications captured by electronic
eavesdropping agencies.

One senior security adviser said the police warnings had
intensified and become much more specific in the past
fortnight. "Before, there has been speculation. Now we are
getting what appears to be a definite plot to carry out a
firearms attack on London," the unnamed adviser said.

The warning was issued by the Metropolitan police through
its network of "security forums", which provide business
leaders, local government and emergency services with counter-
terrorism advice, the paper said.

During the Mumbai attacks in November last year, 10
terrorists from Pakistan had killed 166 people over three days
in India`s financial hub.

According to the newspaper, concerns had been raised by
"chatter" of a prominent `jihadist` website two weeks ago.

One contributor suggested fighters could use automatic
weapons to strike places such as nightclubs, sporting venues
and Jewish centres.

In an online discussion on December 2, another
contributor invited suggestions for carrying out "guerrilla
warfare" and proposed "a group of mujaheddin raid police
stations and fire at them".

Another said: "Make sure that all those at the location
are of age, that there are no children and so on. Insist on
the locations and times where no Muslims or children are to be
expected.

"If machine guns are available, and explosive and
expertise for (explosives) are not available, this is a good
way. The (Mumbai) operation is the ideal scenario for
operations you are talking about."

A third contributor said targets should be "chosen in a
studied manner".

"In general, targeting economic joints and intelligence
centres if possible has priority over police stations."

In Mumbai, many victims were killed in the first half
hour of the attack.

The Metropolitan police is concerned that it will be much
longer before the SAS (Special Air Service), which has
traditionally dealt with terrorist sieges in London, would
arrive from its base at Regent`s Park barracks.

PTI



First Published: Monday, December 21, 2009 - 08:41

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