UK in for 'new wave' of terror, says expert

Britain, according to Michael Clarke of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), faces a new wave of home-grown terrorists as 800 radicalised prisoners are about released from jail.

Senior military figures have expressed concern about the security arrangements for a recent trip by Cameron to Afghanistan.He had to change his schedule at the last minute because of fears the Taliban might be planning to attack his helicopter.

Clarke, a former adviser to the Gordon Brown government, said in a report published today that the security services could struggle to cope with a new generation of extremists seeking to carry out "lone wolf" attacks.

Over the next five to 10 years, about 800 prisoners currently in jail for non-terrorism offences are due to be released after being radicalised during their time in jail.They will be joined by convicted terrorists serving short sentences who, once freed, are likely to be just as committed to the cause of jihad as before they were jailed, the report claims.
The report warns that al-Qaeda's leaders, such as Yemeni preacher and US citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, are encouraging individuals to launch less sophisticated but equally deadly attacks on crowded places.

Their targets have also changed from concentrating on aircraft to including attacks on trains, hotels and sporting events.The current government threat level stands at "severe", indicating a terrorist attack is considered "highly likely". The level was raised from "substantial" in January.

"British prisons still house more terrorists than in any other European country, though not for very long periods," Clarke warns.

Probation officers have warned that about one in 10 of the 8,000 Muslim prisoners in high-security institutions in England and Wales is successfully targeted.This amounts to "around 800 potentially violent radicals, not previously guilty of terrorism charges, [who] will be back in society over the coming five to 10 years," Clarke says. These radicals are ideal candidates to form a "new wave" of terrorists threatening Britain, the report says.

Britain's "globalised society" makes it more vulnerable, says Clarke. "In an open society there is only so much that any government can do to protect the public."

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