Christmas terror attack 'highly likely'
Sunday, December 10, 2006
An attempted terrorist attack in Britain over the Christmas period is "highly likely", the Home Secretary said today.
John Reid said that around 30 conspiracies were under preparation, and the current threat level was "very high indeed".
He told GMTV Sunday that he did not think it an attack was inevitable, but that "the terrorists only have to get through once, as they did on July 7, for us to see the terrible carnage that it causes".
"Our security services have to be successful on every occasion to prevent that happening," he said.
"I try to walk the tightrope between being truthful and honest about the threat to the public but, on the other hand, to say we are doing everything possible to combat it and to try to keep our lifestyle as near as possible to the British way of life."
The Home Secretary added that he thought the battle against Islamic terrorism was likely to last longer than a generation.
Mr Reid's comments echo statements made by last month by Tony Blair and Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, the head of MI5, about the rising threat posed by Muslim fundamentalist terrorists. Mr Blair warned that Britain faced a "long and deep struggle" to defeat al-Qa'eda.
The official terror assessment, posted on the Government's Intelligence website, currently rates the threat as "severe" – the second highest level.
"We ought to be very grateful to the people in the security services who work night and day to try to protect us," Mr Reid said.