An Islamic State plot to target soldiers from the unit of murdered Lee Rigby today is reported to have been foiled
Islamic State had planned to target an Armed Forces Day parade in south London today, it has been claimed.
The suicide attack was reportedly intended to strike soldiers from the unit of murdered Lee Rigby – the day after more than 50 people were killed in terror attacks across three continents, including 38 people in Tunisia.
The majority of those killed at the African beach resort are believed to be British.
The Sun claims a plot to explode a pressure cooker bomb in London – killing soldiers and bystanders on the route – failed after one of its leaders in Syria unwittingly recruited an undercover investigator from the newspaper to carry it out, the report said.
It is alleged that a leading figure in IS, whom it named as Junaid Hussain, originally from Birmingham, told the investigator: “It will be big. We will hit the kuffar (unbelievers) hard InshAllah. Hit their soldiers in their own land. InshAllah. Soldiers that served in Iraq and Afganistan will be present. Jump in the crowd and detonate the bomb.
“They think they can kill Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan then come back to the UK and be safe. We’ll hit them hard InshAllah.”
The newspaper said the plot to bomb the parade in Merton, south west London, was thwarted when it told police and security services about it.
The parade was targeted because it was closest to the barracks in Woolwich, south east London, where Fusilier Rigby, 25, was murdered by Islamist extremists in 2013, the newspaper said.
Fusiliers from his regiment, serving Gurkhas and war veterans will be among the 250 marchers, it added.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “The police, together with our security partners, remain alert to terrorist threats that may manifest here or where individuals overseas may seek to direct or inspire others to commit attacks in and against the UK.
“It is always helpful when journalists share with us information, as The Sun did in this case, that could indicate terrorist or criminal activity.
“Attacks yesterday show the global nature of terrorism and the threat level in the UK from international terrorism remains unchanged at severe.
“While the UK threat level from international terrorism remains severe, we would like to reassure the public that we constantly review security plans for public events, taking into account specific intelligence and the wider threat.
“Our priority is the safety and security for all those attending or involved, the public are encouraged to continue with their plans to attend or take part in events as normal.
“We would also like to reiterate our long-standing advice to remain vigilant and alert. As ever we would urge the public to get in touch to report anything suspicious by calling the confidential anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321 or in an emergency by calling 999.”
Hundreds of events marking Armed Forces Day will take place across the country.
This year’s national event is in Guildford in Surrey, where the Duke of York will be in attendance.
A service will be held in Guildford Cathedral and serving personnel, veterans and cadets will parade through the town.
A show at Stoke Park will feature live music and military displays.
- IS ‘targeted Armed Forces parade’ (southwalesguardian.co.uk)
- UK police foil Islamic State attack on armed forces parade (irishtimes.com)