A troubling new assessment by the director of the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham has found that the United Kingdom is likely home to “between 6,000 and 10,000” Islamic extremists, a figure that has been underscored by a shocking number of terror-related arrests throughout Great Britain in recent years.
According to Anthony Glees, roughly 1,000 British Muslims have traveled to the Middle East to become foot soldiers of the Islamic State. Of those, about 400 are believed to have returned, with only a small portion of those having been indicted for their terrorist activities. Add to that up to 10,000 more “committed Islamists” and you have a recipe for rampant terrorism.
On Friday, London Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu revealed details about two separate counter-terrorism operations that had taken place within just the last 24 hours.
In one incident, a 27-year-old migrant was found to have been carrying a backpack filled with knives and was arrested for Terrorism Act Offences and possession of offensive weapons. The other case saw police shoot a woman wearing a niqab when they stormed a home that had been surveilled as part of a counter-terrorism operation, which in turn led to six more arrests.
Police activity has heightened since the March 22 attack in Westminster that claimed the lives of five victims, including a police officer, after the 52-year-old perpetrator drove a car into a crowd of pedestrians.
“After that attack, we increased the number of officers on duty patrolling at key locations,” Basu said, “and that continues as we police against the backdrop of a severe terrorist threat.”