A top US security chief has warned that Islamic State militants are planning another huge terror attack on the same scale as 9/11. The acting Secretary of Homeland Security in the United States, Elaine Duke, warned that recent attacks involving knives and vehicles were to keep followers of the terror group engaged. But she said that US intelligence suggested extremists are planning an attack involving a big explosion to cause maximum casualties.
She also said it was clear terrorists want to hijack planes to target civilians, mirroring the devastating attack in the US in 2001.
Ms Duke warned of the threat at an event in London (AFP/Getty Images)
The MailOnline reported that Ms Duke, speaking at an event at the US Embassy in London, said: The terrorist organisations, be it ISIS or others, want to have the big explosion like they did on 9/11 . They want to take down aircraft, the intelligence is clear on that.
However, in the interim they need to keep their finances flowing and they need to keep their visibility high and they need to keep their members engaged, so they are using small plots and they are happy to have small plots. Referring to a series of recent atrocities in which terrorists have attacked people using knives or vehicles, she said: Creating terror is their goal and so a van attack, a bladed weapon attack, causes terror and continues to disrupt the world but does not mean they ve given up on a major aviation plot.
Her warning comes after MI5 director general, Andrew Parker, said the UK faced its biggest terror threat yet.
Terror threat: Islamic state (AP)
The chief of the normally secretive organisation gave a speech warning that it was taking less time for terrorists to plan attacks as they could exploit safe spaces online to evade detection. And Ms Duke said the internet was providing the means for more home-grown terrorists in the US through the use of propaganda.
She added that one of the biggest threats to the safety of aviation travel was the free movement of goods and people between countries.
What we believe is that because of the movement of goods and people, we have to raise the baseline worldwide, we can t only consider our borders, she said. She said US officials have strong measures in place to prevent another attack but added: Terrorists are strong, they are adaptable and the terrorist threat is the highest it has been since pre-9/11 .
We have got to have every tool that s possible.
Almost 3,000 people were killed in the 9/11 attack when planes were hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington.
- ^ UK facing ‘worst terror threat in 34 years’ warns MI5 chief (www.standard.co.uk)
- ^ Lack of police helicopters could put lives at risk in terror attacks (www.standard.co.uk)
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Revealed: hero security guard single-handedly took on smash-and-grab gang armed with sword at central London …
A hero security guard who tried to tackle a gang of armed smash and grab raiders at a West End store told today how they rushed at him with a sword. The security guard confronted the gang of six moped robbers as they launched a terrifying raid on Mappin & Webb jewellers in Regent Street using hammers to break display cabinets before snatching handfuls of high value watches. Three raiders rushed inside the store and raided cabinets while three accomplices waited outside on revved-up scooters during the three minute raid at 7.20pm last night.
The guard, who is pictured challenging the men as they fled, told the Standard: I saw them going in . I radioed through attack attack to all the other businesses.
The security guard said the men came at him with a sword
I tried to tackle them but one guy came at me with a sword . They broke in and I was fighting them . We were punching each other . They escaped on three bikes. He said the gang was armed with an axe and machetes and claimed that he recognised one of the robbers from a previous raid.
Forensic officers at the scene of the raid (Nigel Howard)
The guard added: He is not a kid he is about 35 or 36 . I have tackled him before on another attempted robbery . We looked each other in the eye and recognised each other.
They were waving a huge sword – I was just trying to make sure everyone was safe and scare them off.
When the smoke came they panicked . They ran and then got on three bikes.
The robbers fled on a single moped before police arrived (PA)
Police told how during the raid, at 7.20pm yesterday, members of the public confronted the gang, who were wielding bats, machetes and hammers, causing them to abandon the robbery . Passers-by even tried to pursue them through streets crowded with commuters and shoppers. One abandoned his moped at the scene and another appears to have crashed after reports that he collided with a pedestrian in Oxford Street.
A shop worker who saw one crash said: It careered along the road . They were carrying bags and I thought they were mugging people . One guy was chasing them and pulling at the bags and they came off . It was a chaotic scene . A cyclist swerved to avoid a moped and hit a wall, suffering minor injuries.
Elisa Coassin, 19, who was working nearby, said: There was a stampede of people running towards us . We were so scared . People were screaming, Something s happening, there is someone with a machete.
Six men reportedly smashed open cabinets with a hammer and machete (PA)
I saw two motorbikes waiting and I think they saw me looking so I started running away . The whole shop was full of smoke . I thought it was a terrorist attack when I saw the look on everyone s faces. Ed Kelsey, 34, who was refurbishing the HSBC bank opposite, said: We heard a lot of shouting and I came to the window and saw a couple of mopeds with passengers on the back holding baseball bats shouting and trying to keep people away . It was very organised and professional, like something out of a heist movie .
They were in and out in three minutes.
Police investigate the incident at the Mappin & Webb store on Regent Street (PA)
The gang threatened customers and security guards when they stormed into Mappin & Webb . One staff member said: They came in with helmets on and waving machetes around . We have procedures, so all staff managed to get off the shop floor . Everyone is shocked but no one was hurt. Detective Inspector Mike Nolan, of the Met s Flying Squad, said: Members of the public were running at the people waiting on bikes, shouting things like, Get them.
“Some members of the public chased after them . Thankfully, no one was injured . The actions of the public and the security guards prompted them to run out .
They panicked and rode recklessly in different directions.
He appealed for people who filmed the raid on phones to contact police .
The raiders wore dark clothing and helmets .
Anyone with information should call 0208 785 8655 or Crime-stoppers on 0800 555111.