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UK threat level increased to critical

UK threat level increased to critical

10 August 2006

The UK threat level has been increased to critical following the disruption of a major terrorist plot to target UK flights.

Following Thursday's police action, security at all UK airports has been increased and additional security measures have been put in place for all flights.

The Department for Transport has issued important travel advice to anyone travelling from a UK airport.
Home Secretary's statement

John Reid, the Home Secretary, issued the following statement Thursday morning about the security situation:

'Overnight the police, with the full knowledge of Ministers, have carried out a major counter-terrorism operation to disrupt what we believe to be a major threat to the UK and international partners.

The police, acting with the Security Service MI5, are investigating an alleged plot to bring down a number of aircraft through mid-flight explosions, causing a considerable loss of life. The police believe the alleged plot was a very significant one indeed.

At 2am this morning the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre raised the UK threat state to its highest level – "Critical". This is now being publicly announced, as I promised to Parliament last month.

This is a precautionary measure. We are doing everything possible to disrupt any further terrorist activity. This will mean major disruption at all UK airports from today. But as far as is possible we want people to go about their business as normal.'

Difficult struggle still to come

Later on Thursday, Dr Reid and other government officials spoke at a press conference in which they thanked the public and visitors to Britain for their patience amid the travel chaos at airports, and warned that the security measures could stay in place for some time.

Dr Reid explained that the raids and arrests that took place on Thursday marked the culmination of one phase of a major operation that had already lasted for several months, and he said the operation would probably last 'long into the future.'

He explained that, while police and security services believe they have arrested most if not all of the main perpetrators, they felt it necessary to put strict security measures into place at airports and to raise the threat level in order to be certain that people would be protected.
Resolute and united

He praised police and security agencies for their work, and called on the people of the UK to be resolute and united in the coming days.

'This is not a case of one civilisation against another or one religion against another,' he said. 'There is common cause in this country among all the people from whatever background, religion or ethnic dimension because the threat is common to us all.'

Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Paul Stephenson also spoke at the press conference and said that the arrests and raids that took place over the last 24 hours were necessary in order to ensure the safety of the public. He urged people to go about their business as usual and to be alert, but not afraid.

'It is communities that beat terrorism. It is our citizens who defeat terrorism. So we need our citizens to be vigilant, but we also need them to keep this in some sort of perspective, and we need to all go about our daily business,' Mr Stephenson said.

Travellers are warned that security measures may cause severe delays at airports over the coming days, and asked to be patient and to understand that the intense security is necessary for their own safety.


© Scoop Media

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