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National Security News


MI5 Is Reviewing the UK Threat Level in the Wake of the Moscow Concert Terror Attack   

British intelligence chiefs may raise the United Kingdom threat level in the wake of the Moscow terrorist attacks. 

A rise in the level from Substantial to Severe, the second highest category, is being considered by the Joint Terrorist Analysis Centre which is based in MI5’s London headquarters. 

France raised its security readiness just hours after the Moscow attack and following the announcement by Russian President Vladimir Putin who blamed radical Islamists for the attack, but added it was “part of Kyiv regime’s attacks on Russia”. 

The Moscow concert hall attack, which took place on March 22nd, and left 133 people dead and up to 100 wounded, is believed to have been launched by an Islamic State group. 

Video still of terrorists inside concert hall

The Islamic State Khorasan Province, known as ISKP, says that the attack was in response to Russia’s involvement in the Syrian civil war, where it stands accused of numerous human rights abuses. 

The UK has also been involved in military operations against IS in both Syria and Iraq as part of Operation Shader, launched in 2014. In that time, British special forces conducted dozens of operations and the RAF launched over 1,800 air and drone strikes resulting in the deaths of more than 4000 terrorists. 

British operations against IS also make it a target for a reprisal attack by UK-based Islamist terrorists. 

Since 2020 there have been five Islamist terrorist attacks in the UK, with the last being a bomb attack on Liverpool Women’s Hospital in 2021. 

Colonel Philip Ingram told National Security News that the Moscow attacks demonstrate that the IS group remains a potent terror threat. 

He said: “We too easily forgot the ISIS downing of a Russian Airliner over Egypt in 2015, resulting in the loss of 224 people or the ISIS attack on the St Petersburg Metro in 2017, which left 15 dead.”

“As the world focuses on the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, growing instability in the Middle East, increased concerns about China’s activities in Southeast Asia and in Cyberspace, terror groups see an opportunity to exploit the fact that governments’ attention is elsewhere.”

“This is likely why Moscow happened; the US had picked up indicators and warned the Russians, but global tensions meant they ignored those warnings.” 

“France has just increased its terror threat level to the highest state, something only done if there is specific intelligence that an attack is expected imminently. The UK will be monitoring the intelligence around the Moscow attack and what the French have, and reviewing whether the UK threat levels should be increased.”

“Terror groups have almost certainly been exploiting the Channel crossings to get sleepers into the UK, but it takes specific intelligence to trigger a rise in threat levels. It is important that the public remain vigilant and remember the quote from another infamous terror apologist, Gerry Adams, when he said in a Christmas video, ‘They haven’t gone away you know! ISIS, Al-Qaeda and Islamist Terror definitely haven’t gone away.”

Sean Rayment is the Defence and Security Editor for National Security News. He is also a best selling author, broadcaster and award-winning defence and security journalist. He has also previously served as an officer in Parachute Regiment Officer. He has reported from war zones around the world including Iraq, Afghanistan, the Balkans, Africa, and Northern Ireland and is one of the few British journalists to twice visit the US detention centre at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. He has written for virtually all British national newspapers and specialises in security, intelligence, and defence reporting, with a specific interest in mental health issues in the military community. Sean is also the author of Bomb Hunters and Tales from the Special Forces Club. He also co-wrote the international bestselling Painting the Sand with Kim Hughes GC and Endurance with former SAS operator Louis Rudd.