ISIL planning chemical attack in UK: Minister
Britain’s Security Minister Ben Wallace has warned that the Takfiri Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group plans to wage a “mass casualty” chemical attack against the UK, urging the public to report any suspicious behavior.
“The ambition of … Daesh is definitely mass-casualty attacks. They want to harm as many people as possible and terrorize as many people as possible,” Wallace emphasized in an interview published Sunday by the UK-based Sunday Times while insisting that the terror group had already used chemical weapons in Syria and Iraq and that intelligence chiefs believe it is intent on using them in Britain as well.
“They have no moral objection to using chemical weapons against populations, and if they could, they would in this country. The casualty figures that could be involved would be everybody’s worst fear,” the minister noted. “We have certainly seen reports of them using it in Syria and Iraq [and] we have certainly seen aspirations for it in Europe.”
According to the daily, “the risk of an ISIS (Daesh) chemical attack in Britain was noted last month by a Europol report, but this is the first time a minister has highlighted the threat.”
It further underlines that the high-level warning comes amid reports that as many as 200 Takfiri Britons may have returned to the UK “with terrorist intentions.”
Wallace further cautioned that as Daesh was being driven out of its strongholds in Syria and Iraq, returning terrorists would pose an increasing threat to Britain.
Nearly 800 Britons went to fight in Syria and just under half have returned while some 100 of the UK-based militants have been killed, and in 2015 another 150 were prevented from travelling to the battle fields in Syria.
The figure for 2016 would be “very similar,” Wallace said without elaborating on lack of serious measures to stop the persisting flow of UK-based radicals to Syria and Iraq.
The British minister went on to express serious concerns about the liberation of the Daesh-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul by the country’s military and volunteer forces, prompting the British Takfiris’ flight back to the UK.
“The big concern is if Mosul collapses and all the other bases of ISIS collapse. We know there are a significant number of [Britons] fighting for ISIS in Syria. They will probably want to come home,” Wallace said.
“There will also be those people who wanted to go out there but no longer can get there. Their frustration may boil over,” he added.
He also pointed to the February detention of a Daesh cell in Morocco as proof of the terror group’s ambitions to wage chemical attacks, saying: “Moroccan authorities dismantled a cell involving chemical weapons. They recovered toxic chemical and biological substances and a large stock of fertilizer. The substances found could have been used to produce homemade explosives and could have been transformed into a deadly toxin.”
According to security sources, Daesh has used sulfur mustard gas in Syria and “British intelligence believes the group is able to produce the gas itself and has experimented with biological weapons.”
According to the Sunday Times, Daesh “includes people who were part of Saddam Hussein’s former weapons program and it is assumed that it has access to Iraqi and Libyan storage sites of chemical weapons.”
Such details, however, were not at all publicized when the US and Britain, along with their Western allies tried to blame a number of chemical attacks in Syria on government forces despite fierce denials by Damascus as well as evidence that the foreign-backed terrorists were behind such attacks.
Wallace also warned that terrorist groups, Russian agents and cyber-con men had all launched a concerted campaign to recruit “traitors” in the government, military and leading businesses.
“There are traitors. We have to be on our guard for the enemy within,” he said.
The UK official further stated, that “the insider threat, as we would call it, is real and it can be exploited and there are people trying to do that as we speak. If it’s hard to get in the front door, then what you try and do is get someone on the inside.”
He then called on the public to report suspicious behavior to help identify “the enemy within,” including radicals , foreign agents and colleagues corrupted by organized crime gangs.