The British secret service says it has foiled dozens of attacks in four years. It concerned at least 31 conspiracies that were at an ‘advanced stage’.
That’s what Ken McCallum of security service MI5 says in the run-up to the commemoration of the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.
According to the security chief, it was mainly a threat from Islam, but right-wing extremists are also increasingly planning attacks. He emphasized to the BBC that extremists have not been sitting still during the corona crisis. “Even during the pandemic of the past two years, we have had to disrupt six conspiracies that were at an advanced stage.”
The security services have not been able to stop all attacks in recent years. For example, in 2017, 22 people were killed when a Muslim extremist blew himself up after an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. On June 4, 2017, weeks after the May 22 attack, Ariana Grande dedicated the One Love Manchester benefit concert to the victims’ families. At the time, police in Manchester said 22 people were killed and 120 injured, many of them children.
That same year, eight people were killed when extremists deliberately hit pedestrians on London Bridge in the capital and then started stabbing people. And in 2019, too, people were killed during a stabbing at London Bridge. Again, a man and a woman were killed, and three others were seriously injured. The suspect, Usman Khan, 28, was shot by police.
In fact, a UK parliamentary inquiry into the actions of MI5 and the police ahead of the suicide bombing at the concert in 2017 concluded that MI5’s Homeland Security Service had ‘dropped a punch’. As a result, even ‘opportunities to possibly prevent the attack have been lost’.
The report states that the travel behaviour of Salman Abedi, the perpetrator of the attack, was insufficiently followed. For example, he visited an extremist who was in prison at the time, without the police or MI5 doing anything about it. Abedi was also able to enter Britain undetected a few days before the terrorist act.
The American singer herself was not injured in the attack but subsequently struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, two weeks after the suicide attack, she gave the benefit concert One Love Manchester and her single No Tears Left To Cry also refers to the attack.