Wimbledon Steps Up Security After Tunisia Horror While ISIS MarkedMaajid Nawaz
SECURITY is being beefed up at Wimbledon amid fears that the iconic tournament could be targeted by copycat terror attacks following the atrocities in Tunisia, France and Kuwait.
Britain could face a terror strike at anytime, a former Muslim extremist warned, as Prime Minister David Cameron told the public to beware that Britain faces a “severe terrorist threat”.
News of increased police presence first hit the country this weekend at the Armed Forces Day and Pride London, major public events where tens of thousands of people gathered yesterday.
It came after an emergency meeting of the COBRA security committee.
Security will also be increased during the Wimbledon tennis championship which starts tomorrow, and the second week of which coincides with the 10-year anniversary of the 7/7 attacks in London.
July also marks a year since terror group Islamic State (ISIS) declared their caliphate and began their series of terror attacks and brutal murders.
Yesterday police were investigating a drone which was seized after a man flew it over the tennis club from a nearby golf course.
It is illegal to fly one within 50 metres of a structure.
Another COBRA meeting chaired by Prime Minister David Cameron happened this Friday.
After the meeting Helen Ball, Met Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner, said: “The UK threat level remains as severe.
“I am announcing additional security measures at events over the weekend, including Armed Forces Day and Pride London. The security of these events comes under constant review.”
Earlier, Maajid Nawaz, chairman of counter extremist think tank the Quilliam Foundation, said he believed (ISIS) was behind all three terror attacks in Tunisia, France and Kuwait, and said the UK is now at risk from the brutal regime.
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, who chaired the first security meeting in Mr Cameron’s absence, revealed afterwards the county is on red alert with “extra police” being drafted in for high profile public events over the weekend, including Armed Forces Day.
At least 38, of which 15 are believed to be British tourists, are thought to have died in a gun massacre in the Tunisian holiday resort of Sousse.
It came after the beheading of a businessman at a French factory, where an ISIS flag was left.
During Friday prayers, at least 16 people also died during a suicide bomber attack at a Shiite mosque in Kuwait.
Mr Nawaz said he believed the three acts were likely connected, because ISIS vowed to carry out atrocities during the Muslim festival of Ramadan.
He warned more could follow, including at the UK.
He said this should put the UK on red alert for a possible major act of terrorism here any time now during Ramadan, which began last week until July 18.
The former extremist said: “We are overdue for an attack here too. That is possible during Ramadan.”
Mr Nawaz is a self-confessed former Islamic extremist, and runs the think tank to try to dissuade young British Muslim men from being radicalised.
He set it up after being freed from a prison in Egypt where he was charged with being involved in a banned extremist organisation.
Mr Nawaz said the French attack could be the first proof ISIS is sending its fanatics to Europe on migrant boats from Libya, as they earlier claimed they would do on social media.
He said he believed the attacks were by an ISIS determined to prove it could pull off such attacks overseas, as it is on the defensive in some of its strongholds in Iraq and Syria.
He said: “While it is on the defensive in its strongholds, ISIS needs to show it is still relevant and can carry out operations such as these and attract new fighters. It said it would carry out attacks during Ramadan on the anniversary of it setting up its caliphate.”
Referring to the French attack, he said: “We need to consider have they come over from Libya into Europe as migrants.”
ISIS warned on social media it would send over radicals to carry out atrocities in the UK and Europe on the migrant boats containing people now being offered sanctuary in Europe.
Mr Nawaz suggested ISIS would have picked out Tunisia four the massacre because it was angry at the country for setting up a secular state after the uprising.
He added: “ISIS is angry at Tunisia for being the first Arab uprising country to set up a post-Islamist secular state.
“There could be other western tourists who become caught up in what appears to be a massacre in a hotel.
“We are dealing with a global Jihadi insurgency. There is an ideological underpinning to it.
“Their’s is an ideological insurgency they are feeding off that needs to be discredited.”
He said it needed discrediting in “the same way Communism was” and he “would like to see what David Cameron’s strategy will be to do that.”
On Friday, Mr Cameron appeared to suggest this “ideology” will be addressed.
He said : “There is a meeting of COBRA this afternoon to make sure we do all we can to cooperate these (affected) countries and share information with them to fight this threat.”
He also gave the first sign of intervention against ISIS overseas, saying “We also need to deal with this at source in Syria and Iraq.”
He added: “We need to deal with this poisonous narrative that is turning so many minds. They claim to do this in the name of Islam, but it is not Islam is a religion of peace and this is a perverted ideology.”