The terror threat in the United Kingdom is at unprecedented levels, according to British and European experts charged with leading the fight against jihadis in Europe.
There are as many as 35,000 “radicals” in the UK, according to European counter-terrorism coordinator Gilles de Kerchove.
“Of these, 3,000 are worrying for MI5, and of those, 500 are under constant and special attention,” he said.
De Kerchove put the number of extremists in Europe in excess of 50,000.
“We must select those who are really worrying and the most dangerous, and they should be monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” he told El Mundo, a leading Spanish newspaper.
This rise in the threat level follows the order from ISIS for homegrown jihadis not to travel to Iraq and Syria but rather carry out attacks on home soil, said Security Minister Ben Wallace in an interview with Sky News.
Meanwhile, Max Hill, who advises the UK government on counter-terrorism issues, called for tougher sentencing including for the families and friends of terrorists who fail to pass on information to security authorities.
“With the benefit of experience and hindsight it may be the case that some offenses have insufficient discretionary maximum sentences, which should be reviewed,” Hill told the Press Association.
At the same time as these experts were speaking out against the threat, the British media reports Britain will allow in to the country an extremist Islamist preacher who called for the destruction of the UK.
The imam of Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque, Ekrima Sabri, is part of a delegation slated to visit the UK on September 11.
In a radio sermon in 2001 – the year of 9/11 – he called on “Allah, destroy the US, its helpers and its agents. Allah, destroy Britain, its helpers and its agents. Allah, prepare those who will unite the Muslims and march in the steps of Saladin.”