Archive for the ‘Terrorism’ Category

London Bridge: Van mows down pedestrians, witness says

Steve Almasy and Natalie Gallon write:

(CNN) A van mowed down pedestrians as it sped down London Bridge on Saturday night, leaving bodies lying in the roadway, a witness to the incident told CNN.

Mark Roberts said the van was traveling south across the River Thames at a high rate of speed and was swerving as it struck several people, knocking one person “about 20 feet into the air.”
The van swerved into oncoming lanes before hitting a bus stop and coming to a stop, Roberts said.
“Within my line of sight, there were five or six people on the ground that were not moving,” he said. “It looked to me that the van was aiming at the people.”
Roberts said he heard what sounded like gunshots about 10 minutes later. He estimated 100 people were on the bridge at the time, fewer than earlier in the night because it was getting late.
“I froze, to be honest,” Roberts said. “As I was thinking … which direction should I run, the van swerved across the other side of the bridge from me.”
London’s Metropolitan Police have not issued a report, saying only that an “incident” occurred on the bridge.

“Israel and UK are united against terrorism”

Tzipi Hotovely

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely responded to the murderous attack, believed to be perpetrated by terrorists, in Manchester Monday night, saying Israel and the United Kingdom were allies in the war on terror.

The bombing, which targeted a pop music concert by singer Ariana Grande, left at least 22 people dead and 59 wounded.

“Deep sorrow on the loss of innocent young life in terrible Manchester attack,” Hotovely wrote on Twitter Tuesday. “Israel with the UK in the fight against terror.”

UK police say the attack was apparently a suicide bombing, and that the investigation is treating the attack as an act of terror, though no official statement confirming it as such has yet been released.

The attack was carried out at 10:33 p.m. local time by a lone bomber, police say, though they have yet to determine whether the bomber acted alone or in conjunction with larger terror network.

Grande, whose show was the scene of the attack, wrote to fans that she was “broken” after the bombing.

“[F]rom the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. i [sic] don’t have words.” The singer cancelled the remainder of her overseas engagements.

There are ‘up to 3,000 terrorists’ on UK streets at the moment

Located next to Vauxhall Bridge on the River Thames, the SIS Building (or MI6 Building) is the headquarters of the British Secret Intelligence Service. The building opened in 1994.

Tanveer Mann writes:

There could be as many as 3,000 Islamist extremists in the UK, Counter-terrorism agencies have said. 

Most of them are believed to be British and are a part of 500 active investigations being led by MI5 at the moment.

The figures come as it was revealed that a total of 18 plots have been foiled since 2013, including five since the Westminster attack in March this year.

In the wake of the Manchester bombing, authorities are now facing questions about whether any of the warning signs were missed.

The attacker, Salman Abedi, was said to be known to the security services ‘up to a point’.



Manchester attack: Who was Salman Abedi?

Salman Abedi has been named by police as the Manchester bomber

Police have named 22-year-old Salman Ramadan Abedi as the person suspected of carrying out the suicide attack at Manchester Arena on Monday evening.

The BBC understands that Abedi was a “mule” carrying out the attack for a larger network of collaborators, which is being investigated by Greater Manchester Police.

But what do we know about the suspected suicide bomber?

Abedi was born in Manchester on New Year’s Eve 1994 to Libyan parents, who had fled that country after becoming opponents of Colonel Gaddafi’s regime.

Having spent a few years in London, the family moved to Manchester where Abedi’s father used to do the call to prayer at a mosque in Didsbury.

Abedi attended Burnage Academy for Boys in Manchester between 2009 and 2011, before later going on to Salford University.

However, he dropped out of university and worked in a bakery.

Friends remember him as a good footballer, a keen supporter of Manchester United and a user of cannabis. He had a sister and two brothers.

His mother and father are now believed to be back living in Libya. For a while he left the UK too, but he is believed to have returned in the past few days.

UK ‘vulnerable to terror attacks by jihadis unable to reach Syria’

Police cordon off the area around the Manchester Arena. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

Nick Hopkins and Ewen MacAskill write:

Britain has become more vulnerable to terrorist attacks because “frustrated travellers” are finding it more difficult to get to Syria and are being urged by different extremist groups to commit atrocities in the UK.

The return of some British fighters from Syria has added to a complex picture, which means the UK’s counter-terrorism agencies are feeling heat from all sides, intelligence sources said.

“There is pressure on the counter-extremism strategy because of the confluence of frustrated travellers who would go to Syria if they could but are stuck here, and returnees,” said one Whitehall source.

“Both Isis (Islamic State) and al-Qaida are calling for these travellers to stay at home and attack in the west instead. The risk seems far greater now. The risk is changing.”

The police and intelligence services are seeking to establish the motive of the Manchester killer, Salman Abedi, and whether he was working alone or part of a wider network. Although Isis claimed responsibility, the police have not found any evidence to support this.