'London faces Mumbai-like terror attack'

'London faces Mumbai-like terror attack'

'London faces Mumbai-like terror attack'

A surveillance camera image released by London’s Metropolitan police on Sept 20, 2005, shows three of the four men believed to have been responsible for the July 7 explosions in London. AP

“Mumbai is coming to London,” warned a senior detective from SO15, the Metropolitan police’s counter-terrorism command.

In a briefing here 12 days ago, the detective said companies should expect a “shooting and hostage-taking raid involving a small number of gunmen with handguns and improvised explosive devices.”

The severest warning issued by the police following the 26/11 terrorist attack on Mumbai has underlined an assessment that a terrorist cell may be preparing an attack on London early next year, The Sunday Times reported on Sunday.
In Mumbai, 10 heavily-armed gunmen of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba terror group struck at many places in November last year, killing 166 people and wounding 304 others.

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

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

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.

According to the newspaper, concerns had been raised by “chatter” of a prominent ‘jihadist’ website two weeks ago.

One contributor suggested automatic weapons could be used to strike 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 on police stations and fire at them”.

Another said: “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 Special Air Service, which has traditionally dealt with terrorist sieges in London, would arrive from its base at Regent’s Park barracks.