World

MI5 chief warns of spontaneous terrorist attacks

LONDON: Britain faces the most acute threat ever from Islamist militants seeking to inflict mass attacks, often with spontaneous plots that take just days to bring to execution, the head of the MI5 domestic intelligence agency said.

After four militant attacks this year that killed 36 in Britain, MI5 chief Andrew Parker said the threat is at the highest tempo he has seen in 34 years of espionage.

"The threat is more diverse than I have ever known: plots developed here in the United Kingdom, but plots directed from overseas as well, plots online, complex scheming and also crude stabbings, lengthy planning but also spontaneous attacks," he said in a speech in London.

Britain has foiled 20 plots in the past four years, with seven Islamist attacks prevented in the past seven months, he said, adding that there were 500 live operations involving 3,000 people involved in militant activity.

Britain has demanded that tech companies do more to suppress extremist content.

When asked whether Google, Facebook and Amazon were doing enough to prevent communications among militants, Mr Parker said: "There is a reasonable expectation, I think, from all of us but also from the public at large that these companies would do what they can to help us deal with these worst excesses." - REUTERS

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