In the aftermath of recent terror-related attacks across the globe, MI5 Director General Andrew Parker has warned of al-Qaeda extremists in Syria planning “mass casualty attacks against the West”.
Parker said British security authorities had “stopped three UK terrorist plots” in recent months but added that “we still face complex and ambitious plots” by extremists who want to “cause large scale loss of life” by targeting transport networks and iconic landmarks.
“We know, for example, that a group of core al-Qaeda terrorists in Syria is planning mass casualty attacks against the West,” Parker said.
“Al-Qaeda continues to provide a focus for extremists to plot terrorist attacks against the West. British Islamist extremists still travel to South Asia, the Arabian Peninsula and other theatres to try to obtain terrorist training.”
Despite successful efforts by security authorities to prevent attacks, Parker said “we cannot be complacent”.
“Deaths would certainly have resulted otherwise,” Mr Parker added. “Although we and our partners try our utmost we know that we cannot hope to stop everything.”
Earlier this week, terrorist gunmen stormed the Paris offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people and escaping to northern France, where they remain at large.
Radicalisation of a number of Australian citizens has driven the Australian Government’s changes to counter-terror legislation which includes increased powers to security and intelligence organisations.
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