Christmas shoppers warned to be “more vigilant” as terrorists could be “emboldened” by recent attacks

Christmas shoppers and revelers need to be “more vigilant”, the UK counterterrorism police chief warned, as terrorists could be “emboldened” by two recent attacks in the UK in a month’s time.

Deputy Commissioner Matt Jukes issued the alert on Wednesday evening, 48 hours after the national threat level was raised to “serious”.

“We have now seen two terrorist incidents take place on our streets in the past four weeks, and recent experience tells us that this may encourage other extremists to plan and carry out their own attacks,” he said. declared.

“As we enter the first busy festive period since the start of the pandemic, the level of terrorist threat has become severe, which means an attack is very likely.

“I know it will concern people, but [counterterrorism] the police are stepping up to protect the UK. It also means that we need the public to do the same – by being more vigilant and bringing their concerns to us. “

The independent understands that Liverpool Women’s Hospital suicide bomber Emad al-Swealmeen was not previously known to MI5 or the counterterrorism police.

Further details on the planning for the murder of Sir David Amess will be heard at the next trial of the Member’s alleged murderer.

The fact that the two attacks took place in relatively rapid succession led to an increase in the level of the national terrorist threat on Monday, after the UK went 16 months without a confirmed attack.

The Liverpool bombing was the 14th terrorist attack since March 2017, and security services say they foiled 31 jihadist and neo-Nazi plots during this period.

Mr Jukes said counter-terrorism police received around 10,000 reports from the public on suspected terrorist activity in a year, a fifth of which provided “useful intelligence” that aided investigations.

“Attacks can take many forms, as can suspicious behavior. If someone’s behavior seems inappropriate, trust your instincts and let us know, ”he added. “You won’t be ignored and you can make a real difference. “

Police have yet to confirm the motivation for the attack on Liverpool, which took place shortly before 11 a.m. on Remembrance Sunday.

Deputy Police Chief Russ Jackson, chief of the North West Counterterrorism Police, said investigators believed al-Swealmeen had been preparing for the bombing for at least seven months.

The asylum seeker, who was in a long battle with the Home Office over his immigration status, was not known to be a threat.

Al-Swealmeen, who changed his name to Enzo Almeni after arriving in the UK around seven years ago, converted to Christianity in 2015 but lost contact with worshipers at Liverpool Cathedral in 2018.

The City of Liverpool College has confirmed The independent that Al-Swealmeen had taken a cake decorating course between 2018 and summer 2019.

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