Rishi Sunak tells police and security chiefs to prepare for a terror attack on the streets of the UK in emergency Cobra meeting amid Israel-Hamas conflict
- Official UK terror threat level remains at ‘substantial, meaning attack is ‘likely’
Rishi Sunak yesterday told police and security chiefs to prepare for a Gaza-inspired terrorist attack in the UK – as Suella Braverman hit out at pro-Palestinian ‘hate marches’.
At a meeting of the Government’s emergency committee Cobra, the Prime Minister asked security officials to ‘prepare for and mitigate against the risk of incidents’ in the wake of rising tensions over the crisis in the Middle East.
Sources told the Mail that Mr Sunak asked the police and MI5 to conduct ‘tabletop exercises to simulate our response to potential public order and counter terror scenarios’.
The official UK terror threat level, set by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, remains at ‘substantial’, meaning an attack is ‘likely’. Ministers fear rising tensions over Gaza could spill over into violence on British streets, with Met Police commissioner Sir Mark Rowley warning the crisis had ‘accelerated’ the threat of terrorism.
Rishi Sunak yesterday told police and security chiefs to prepare for a Gaza-inspired terrorist attack in the UK – as Suella Braverman hit out at pro-Palestinian ‘hate marches’
People holding banners and Palestinian flags gather to hold a massive pro-Palestine rally in London amid Israeli attacks on Gaza
The police and security services routinely wargame their response to terror attacks. But ministers believe extra care will be needed in the current climate to prevent any incident sparking reprisals.
A Whitehall source said: ‘We need to be in a situation where if, God forbid, there is an attack on a synagogue or a mosque, our response… does everything possible to prevent it triggering further attacks.’
The intervention came as Mrs Braverman hit out at the large pro-Palestine demonstrations seen across the UK in the wake of the Hamas attacks on Israel, and Israel’s subsequent response in Gaza. The Home Secretary said: ‘We’ve seen now tens of thousands of people take to the streets… chanting for the erasure of Israel from the map. To my mind there is only one way to describe those marches: they are hate marches.’
The official UK terror threat level, set by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, remains at ‘substantial’, meaning an attack is ‘likely’
Education minister Robert Halfon said it was a ‘fearful time’ for Jews living in the UK.
Mr Halfon, who is Jewish, told Times Radio yesterday: ‘I really welcome that the Prime Minister has done everything possible to support those of the Jewish faith, but it is frightening when you hear those chants… when you hear cries of jihad every week in central London.’
At yesterday’s Cobra meeting, ministers agreed on the need to protect those living in the UK who had been ‘deeply and directly’ affected by events in the Middle East. They also discussed efforts to free British hostages held by Hamas and to secure the safe passage of around 200 British nationals trapped in Gaza.
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