Sunday 24 September 2017

Britain facing terror threat 'not seen since IRA in the 1970s'

The wreckage after an IRA bomb exploded outside the Old Bailey, London in 1973. Photo: PA
The wreckage after an IRA bomb exploded outside the Old Bailey, London in 1973. Photo: PA

Ben Riley-Smith

The UK's new terrorism watchdog has warned that citizens are facing a level of threat from terrorists not seen since the IRA bombings of the 1970s.

Max Hill said Isil was planning "indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilians" on a scale similar to those perpetrated by the IRA 40 years ago.

He told 'The Telegraph' that Islamists were targeting UK cities and said there was an "enormous ongoing risk which none of us can ignore".

Mr Hill was unveiled as the new watchdog, taking over from David Anderson in a role that dates back to the height of the IRA threat.

Mr Hill said that the scale of threat facing Britain today had not been seen since the 1970s.

"It is possible to point to distinctions in terms of the mindset, organisation and strategy of different terrorist groups and therefore it would be wrong to draw a simple comparison between Irish republicanism and the ideology of so-called Islamic State," Mr Hill said.

"But in terms of the threat that's represented, I think the intensity and the potential frequency of serious plot planning - with a view to indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilians of whatever race or colour in metropolitan areas - represents an enormous ongoing risk that none of us can ignore.

"So I think that there is undoubtedly significant ongoing risk which is at least as great as the threat to London in the 1970s when the IRA was active."

In the role, Mr Hill will report annually to parliament as well as undertaking his own reviews.

Irish Independent

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