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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 75

Britain braced for Iraqi-style killings as police hunt Jihadists

Neville de Silva - Diplomatic Editor Asian Tribune

London, 02 February, ( Will Iraqi-style kidnappings and on-line beheading of victims next invade British homes as locally- grown terrorists plan new attacks? Will Baghdad come to London as it came to Birmingham, is what is worrying the security services as they warn of Britain's vulnerability to al-Qaeda attacks.

This is the troubling question now being asked here after the combined forces- MI5, Scotland Yard and local police- arrested 09 suspected terrorists in dawn raids and later in Birmingham on Wednesday for allegedly plotting to kidnap and behead a Muslim member of the British armed forces.

The suspects, believed to be Britons of Pakistan origin, are said to have conspired to kidnap a Muslim soldier- a lance corporal in his 20s and to possibly torture him before cutting off his head has happened to Briton Ken Bigley and Margaret Hassan, after being taken hostage by extremists in Iraq.

If Muslim soldiers in the British forces are the current targets, will other Muslims serving the British administration-in the police, Home Office or Customs- become potential victims if the soldiers cannot be got at because of extra protection?

Security sources here believe the soldier, now in protective custody along with some members of his family, was to have been bundled into a vehicle and taken to a pre-arranged cell where he would be eventually beheaded and the entire episode captured on video.

The video was later be released to the media or otherwise made available for showing as a warning to those Muslims in the British armed forces serving in Iraq or Afghanitan against their Muslim "brothers".

The soldier who was to have been the victim was on leave after a tour of duty in Afghanistan, security sources said.

The fear is that other British Muslims serving not only in the armed services but even the civil service might become victims of young extremists who have been radicalized and are willing to take up the struggle against other Muslims in their adopted country.

It is British foreign policy that has led to intervention troops being sent to Afghanistan and Iraq to kill fellow Muslims, the radical wing argues.

At first eight Muslims in their 20 and 30s were arrested in dawn raids down several roads in Birmingham. As the security operation continued more were taken in and by late Wednesday night five others had been rounded up.

The West Midlands police that were involved in the operation said yesterday the men had been arrested "on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism under the Terrorism Act 2000."

"This remains a dynamic, fluid operation," said David Shaw, assistant chief constable of West Midlands adding that "we are literally at the foothills of what is a very, very major investigation."

Apparently the planned attack was getting too close for comfort and the security services decided to act quickly on grounds of public safety.

Otherwise the surveillance which had been going on for at least six months might have continued in order to rope in more co-conspirators, sources here believe.

Several Muslims who were interviewed on British television dismissed the whole idea of a grand conspiracy saying that even earlier Muslims had been arrested for alleged acts of terrorism or plans to unleash terrorism but they were not charged.

Unless the police come up with evidence turning their intelligence gathered from surveillance and telephone taps in to hard fact able to stand up in court, the Muslim community is likely to become further alienated from mainstream society.

- Asian Tribune -

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