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Britain’s MI5 missed ‘opportunities’ to prevent Manchester terror attack

A parliamentary committee has criticized MI5 and London police for failing to adequately deal with Salman Abedi. The British citizen killed 22 people when he detonated explosives outside an Ariana Grande concert. The British parliament's Intelligence Security Committee on Thursday published a damning report on the 2017 Manchester Arena terror attack. The report said British security services failed to adequately deal with 22-year-old perpetrator Salman Abedi's case and, as such, missed several opportunities to possibly prevent the attack. It also noted that security services did not heed suggestions provided in previous reports on terror attacks in the UK. "While it impossible to say whether these would have prevented the devastating attack on May 22, we have concluded that, as a result of the failings, potential opportunities to prevent it were missed," said British lawmaker Dominic Grieve, who chairs the committee. Twenty-two people were killed exiting a concert by American singer Ariana Grande at the Manchester Arena when Abedi, a British citizen born to Libyan parents, detonated shrapnel-laden explosives. Shortcomings Security services, including the UK's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, and London's Metropolitan Police Counter-Terrorism unit, had flagged Abedi as early as 2010. MI5 also briefly investigated him in 2014, but did not recommend his case to a counter-extremism program. The report singled out both security services for not following up with Abedi after he visited an extremist contact in prison. The failure to monitor Abedi after the prison visit allowed him to "return undetected" to Britain after a brief trip to Libya, it added. The case was reminiscent of German security service's treatment of Anis Amri, a Tunisian national and failed asylum seeker who drove a lorry into a Christmas market crowd, killing 12 people and injuring dozens more. Amri managed to elude German law enforcement despite once being described as a security risk. Although he told a federal police informant that he "wanted to do something big" and could acquire an AK-47 assault rifle to commit an attack, a brief investigation resulted in him being deemed an "unlikely" threat. 'An attack is highly likely' Interior Minister Sajid Javid thanked the committee for the report, noting that "we will review and formally respond to it in due course." "Following the attacks, the government, police and MI5 undertook a series of rigorous reviews to ensure we are all doing everything we can to tackle the evolving threat of terrorism," said Javid. The UK's perceived terror threat level is currently defined as "severe," meaning "an attack is highly likely." It hasn't been lower then severe since 2014.

A parliamentary committee has criticized MI5 and London police for failing to adequately deal with Salman Abedi. The British citizen killed 22 people when he detonated explosives outside an Ariana Grande concert. The British parliament’s Intelligence Security Committee on Thursday published a damning report on the 2017 Manchester Arena terror attack. The report said British security services failed to adequately ... Read More »

US bomb threats: Critics blame Trump’s toxic rhetoric

US President Donald Trump called for "more civility" in politics after a string of parcel bombs targeted prominent politicians. Critics claim his attacks on the media and Democrats provide fuel for political violence. Deep divisions and the specter of political violence erupted in the United States Wednesday after a string of parcel bombs were sent to prominent Democrats and news outlet CNN. At least seven packages were intercepted before they reached former President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and others. None of the parcels exploded and nobody was hurt. The FBI has launched an investigation. US President Donald Trump condemned political violence and called for unity, but Democrats and critics were quick to put the blame on the president's often vitriolic rhetoric. Read more: Opinion: Politically motivated violence in Trump's America is no surprise At a rally in Wisconsin ahead of the November 6 mid-term vote that could see Democrats take control of one or both houses of Congress, Trump told supporters the media had a responsibility "to stop the endless hostility and constant negative and oftentimes false attacks and stories." "Any acts or threats of political violence are an attack on our democracy itself," Trump said. "We want all sides to come together in peace and harmony." But he also said that those "engaged in the political arena" must stop treating political opponents as being "morally defective." "No one should carelessly compare political opponents to historic villains, which is done often," he said. Critics lay the blame at Trump's door Former CIA Director John Brennan, who had a parcel bomb addressed to him at CNN's office in New York, said he may have been targeted because of his strong criticism of Trump. Brennan is actually an analyst for NBC. "If I and others are being targeted because we're speaking out ... it's a very unfortunate turn of events," he said at an event in Austin. "Donald Trump too often has helped to incite these acts of violence" but "I'm hoping that maybe this is a turning point." The media has often been at the center of Trump's barbs against "fake news" and he has labeled journalists as "enemies of the people." CNN is one of the president's favorite targets. CNN president Jeff Zucker issued sharp criticism of Trump's verbal assaults on the media. "There is a total and complete lack of understanding at the White House about the seriousness of their continued attacks on the media," said Zucker. "Words matter. Thus far, they have shown no comprehension of that." Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Nancy Pelosi, two top Democrats, said in a statement that Trump's "words ring hollow until he reverses his statements that condone acts of violence." "Time and time again, the President has condoned physical violence and divided Americans with his words and his actions: Expressing support for the Congressman who body-slammed a reporter, the neo-Nazis who killed a young woman in Charlottesville, his supporters at rallies who get violent with protestors, dictators around the world who murder their own citizens, and referring to the free press as the enemy of the people," they said. Soros targeted The spree of parcel bombs started on Monday with one sent to the New York home of George Soros, a financier of liberal causes who is a bete noire of the far-right. In recent weeks, Soros has been accused by conservatives of trying to undermine Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination and backing a caravan of Central American migrants trying to reach the United States. Laura Silber, a spokeswoman for Soros' Open Society Foundations, blamed toxic political rhetoric for the bomb scares. "The hateful rhetoric that dominates politics in the US and in so many countries around the world breeds extremism and violence," Silber said in a statement. "In this climate of fear, falsehoods and rising authoritarianism, just voicing your views can draw death threats."

US President Donald Trump called for “more civility” in politics after a string of parcel bombs targeted prominent politicians. Critics claim his attacks on the media and Democrats provide fuel for political violence. Deep divisions and the specter of political violence erupted in the United States Wednesday after a string of parcel bombs were sent to prominent Democrats and news ... Read More »

German intelligence foiled 2016 Islamic State terror attack

Intelligence officials in Germany thwarted a 2016 attack that was planned by the "Islamic State" militant group. A couple who traveled to Syria was said to be trying to send teams of militants back to Germany. Three teams of "Islamic State" (IS) terrorists were to have traveled to Germany in 2016 to prepare for and carry out a devastating attack – with the target possibly a music festival. A man, Oguz G., and woman, Marcia M., who traveled to Syrian in autumn 2015 to join IS were to have played a central role in the attack. From IS' then-de facto capital of Raqqa, Marcia M. — who was herself a convert to Islam — tried to recruit women in northern Germany to marry IS members so that they could be granted permission to enter Germany. However, one of the women who was contacted was an informant for Germany's domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), who alerted authorities. Details of the case emerged after an investigation by the German broadcasters ARD and WDR, as well as the Süddeutsche Zeitung and Zeit newspapers. The case was confirmed by the German Federal Prosecutor's Office. "We learned of the attack plan, so we were able to able to initiate criminal proceedings in October 2016," Public Prosecutor General Peter Frank told ARD. "For us, the facts in the case were very concrete and also credible."   In Kurdish custody The plans were foiled both as a result of the investigation and the purging of IS from areas that it once occupied. Zeit reported that the couple handed themselves in to Kurdish authorities in October 2017. Since then, they have been held in detention in northern Syria. Read more: Germany: How do terrorist groups compare? There, reporters interviewed the Oguz G., who was reported to come from the German city of Hildesheim, in the northern state of Lower Saxony. He claimed to have become embroiled in the attack plan accidentally and to have tried to get out of the situation once he knew about the attack plan. The plot is thought to have been initiated by a high-ranking IS official with the combat name Abu Mussab al Almani, possibly relating to Swiss Islamist militant Thomas C., who died in fighting in Syria.

Intelligence officials in Germany thwarted a 2016 attack that was planned by the “Islamic State” militant group. A couple who traveled to Syria was said to be trying to send teams of militants back to Germany. Three teams of “Islamic State” (IS) terrorists were to have traveled to Germany in 2016 to prepare for and carry out a devastating attack ... Read More »

Deportations illegal if torture likely, rules Germany’s top court

Germany's top court has ruled that a person cannot be deported to their country of origin if at risk of torture. A German-born Turkish Salafist had appealed his return, saying he would be tortured in his home country. Germany's Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe on Tuesday ruled that a convicted terrorist may not be deported to their country of origin if they are in danger of being tortured following arrival. The court said that authorities needed "appropriate assurances" from the country of origin that "effectively excludes torture and inhumane treatment" of the person in question in order to follow through with a deportation. Read more: Preventing terrorism: What powers do German security forces have? From Berlin to Karlsruhe The ruling stems from an appeal from a German-born Turkish national: In 2015, a Berlin court sentenced a German-born Salafist to three and a half years in prison for supporting a Syrian terrorist organization.\ Germany's immigration office in 2016 threatened the 30-year-old convict with deportation. However, the Turkish man took the threat of deportation to court, saying that Turkish authorities have initiated a criminal case against him on terrorism charges. The convict argued that he would be tortured – like other terror suspects – if he were deported, and backed his argument with a letter detailing such claims from Amnesty International. Is Turkey likely to torture detainees: In the wake of a failed coup in 2016, Turkey launched a major crackdown, arresting journalists, teachers and judges. That year, Amnesty International said it gathered "credible evidence that detainees in Turkey are being subjected to beatings and torture, including rape." Read more: What is the status of German deportations to Afghanistan? What happens next: German authorities will have a tougher time carrying out deportations now. They will be expected to receive assurances from a person's country of origin that the returnee will not be subjected to torture by authorities after arrival.

Germany’s top court has ruled that a person cannot be deported to their country of origin if at risk of torture. A German-born Turkish Salafist had appealed his return, saying he would be tortured in his home country. Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe on Tuesday ruled that a convicted terrorist may not be deported to their country of origin ... Read More »

Belgium: Police detain four suspects over foiled 2015 Thalys train terror attack

Two raids have taken plane in the Molenbeek district in Brussels. Authorities have warned of an increased likelihood of a terrorist attack on European soil by fighters returning from the Middle East. Police in Belgium arrested four people in connection with a terrorism investigation into a 2015 attack on a high-speed Paris-bound Thalys train, according to prosecutors. Authorities raided at least six properties in Brussels and southern Belgium. "Four people were taken in for questioning," prosecutors said in a statement. Read more: 'Islamic State': Will it survive a post-caliphate future? At least two of the raids took place in the Belgian capital's Molenbeek district. "Neither explosives nor weapons were found" during the raids on Monday, prosecutors added. Investigating judges are expected to decide later whether to keep the suspects in detention. Wave of attacks A bloodbath was avoided in August 2015 when passengers – including two off-duty US soldiers – subdued Ayoub el-Khazzani, who was armed with a Kalashnikov, a pistol and box cutter. Belgium and France have been on high-alert following a series of deadly terrorist attacks. In November 2015, the "Islamic State" (IS) militant group claimed responsibility for devastating attacks across Paris that left 130 people dead. Read more: EU introduces new measures to combat 'low-tech' terrorism Months later, IS militants launched attacks on Brussels Airport and a central subway station, leaving 32 people dead. With IS losing territory in the Middle East, authorities have warned of the growing possibility of attacks on European soil with fighters making their way to their home countries in Europe.

Two raids have taken plane in the Molenbeek district in Brussels. Authorities have warned of an increased likelihood of a terrorist attack on European soil by fighters returning from the Middle East. Police in Belgium arrested four people in connection with a terrorism investigation into a 2015 attack on a high-speed Paris-bound Thalys train, according to prosecutors. Authorities raided at ... Read More »

Germany’s domestic intelligence agency warns of ‘IS’ sympathizers

Germany’s domestic intelligence agency says 'IS' sympathizers returning to the country could pose a security risk. The agency's head also warned of the increasing threat of cyberwarfare. One would think that Germany's Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), the country's domestic intelligence agency, would be relieved by news of the fall of the "Islamic State" (IS) terror group's Syrian capital in Raqqa and its subsequent retreat. Heavy IS losses could dampen the morale of potential attackers in Europe and Germany. One might assume that the more influence IS loses in the region, the less appealing its ideology might become. But Germany's domestic intelligence agency contends that things are not that simple. "We see the threat of children, socialized by Islamists, and thus accordingly indoctrinated, returning to Germany from a war zone," BfV President Hans-Georg Maassen said in Berlin on Wednesday. According to the BfV, more than 950 Germans are currently in Syria and Iraq: of these, 20 percent are women and five percent are children. Security authorities assume that, as the situation on the ground there deteriorates, many of them will soon be returning to Germany. The BfV believes that, if that happens, it could pose a security risk to the country. Authorities say their concern is compounded by the fact that IS directly targets children and youths in its propaganda. Some videos found online even show children participating in executions. Maassen says he fears "the possibility that a new generation of jihadis is being created." Maassen said that all members of society need to "take a very serious look" at what his agency outlined as a threat and be prepared to defend themselves against it. The BfV has, among other things, set up a hotline for those seeking advice or offering tips. The agency is also hoping to get help from asylum seekers. Maassen told DW that his agency has already received hundreds of tips from refugees. "We operate on the assumption that many of these tips are real and thus worth us following them up;" he said. Cyberwar threat The BfV also outlined on Thursday what it called another potential area of threat: cyberwar. Maassen has long been warning about Russian cyber activity, although his fears that Russia would attempt to influence Germany's recent election with fake news appear not to have come to fruition. Such concern generally was heightened after the 2015 cyberattack on the IT system of Germany's lower house of parliament, the Bundestag. The BfV believes that Russia was behind that attack. Read more:New EU cyber strategy aims to cut crime Speaking at a public hearing of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee for Intelligence Agencies (PKGr) in early October, Maassen said that the decision of whether or not to use stolen information is always a "political decision." Adding that he feels decision-makers in Moscow may well have decided that, "the political costs of using such information in the German elections was simply too high." Russia experienced significant backlash in the US over its alleged meddling in the country's 2016 presidential election. The incident made the general public wary "that there was Russian involvement, of a disinformation campaign," Maassen said. Cyberactivity in Iran The BfV also announced it has registered an uptick in Germany-related cyberactivity emanating from Iran. As evidence, the agency presented a fake Angela Merkel quote that was broadly disseminated on new sites across the Middle East and Eastern Europe as part of an anti-Saudi propaganda campaign. Maassen addressed what he called the "looming threat of a poisoning of the digital nervous system." He used the threat as justification for further technical upgrades at his agency, saying the "power to launch cyber counterattacks can no longer be a taboo subject." However, the legal framework for such activity does not exist in Germany, nor are there any binding rules on the subject in international law.

Germany’s domestic intelligence agency says ‘IS’ sympathizers returning to the country could pose a security risk. The agency’s head also warned of the increasing threat of cyberwarfare. One would think that Germany’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), the country’s domestic intelligence agency, would be relieved by news of the fall of the “Islamic State” (IS) terror group’s ... Read More »

Hamburg knife attack: Federal prosecutors lead probe, say suspect had ‘radical Islamist’ motive

German federal prosecutors have taken over the probe into a deadly knife attack in Hamburg. Authorities say they believe the 26-year-old suspect was a self-radicalized Islamist extremist who hoped to die as a "martyr." The prosecutor's office, which handles terror cases in Germany, announced Monday it had taken charge of the investigation given its "special significance." The attacker, identified as a 26-year-old Palestinian man born in the United Arab Emirates and named only as Ahmad A., fatally stabbed one person and injured six others at a Hamburg supermarket on Friday before he was detained by passersby. Prosecutors said in a statement that while he was a known Islamist, there was no indication he was a member of an extremist militant group like "Islamic State." "According to ongoing investigations, the accused had self-radicalized," the statement said. Asylum application had been rejected The suspect, a rejected asylum seeker who came to Germany in 2015, reportedly told investigators that he had developed an interest in extremist ideology before ultimately deciding "to adopt a corresponding lifestyle" two days before the stabbing. "On the day of the act, he resolved to commit an attack with the hope that he would die as a martyr," prosecutors added. The suspect is alleged to have entered a supermarket in Hamburg's Barmbek district before taking a kitchen knife from a shelf and embarking on a stabbing spree. He killed a 50-year-old man and injured several other people. Witnesses told news agency Agence France Presse he shouted "Allahu Akbar" ("God is the Greatest") as he fled the scene, but that bystanders chased after him and managed to stop him. He is currently in police custody on suspicion of murder and five counts of attempted murder. Officials acknowledge that Ahmad A. was known to them as an Islamist, but they say he had never been classified as a "threat." Plans to deport him had been put on hold because he didn't yet have valid papers. Germany has been on high alert, with boosted security in many cities, particularly since last December when 12 people were killed in a truck attack at a Berlin Christmas market.

German federal prosecutors have taken over the probe into a deadly knife attack in Hamburg. Authorities say they believe the 26-year-old suspect was a self-radicalized Islamist extremist who hoped to die as a “martyr.” The prosecutor’s office, which handles terror cases in Germany, announced Monday it had taken charge of the investigation given its “special significance.” The attacker, identified as ... Read More »

Germany’s NSU neo-Nazi terror trial – what you need to know

The closing statements in the trial of the NSU right-wing terror cell are starting in Munich. A sentence could come later this year. DW answers five key questions from one of Germany's most high-profile neo-Nazi cases. State prosecutors on Tuesday began their closing statements in one of the most important neo-Nazi trials ever seen in Germany. The case that has gripped the country for four years is about to come to an end. What is the NSU trial about? The far-right terror cell known as the National Socialist Underground (NSU) allegedly murdered 10 people, carried out two bombings and robbed banks in various German states between 2000 and 2007. The NSU consisted mainly of three people - Uwe Böhnhardt, Uwe Mundlos (both dead) and Beate Zschäpe. The trio came from the eastern German city of Jena, where they were active in the right-wing extremist scene. Most of the murder victims had an immigrant background, the only exception being a German policewoman who was gunned down in 2007. The NSU is also said to be responsible for the nail bomb attack that left 22 people injured in a Turkish neighborhood in Cologne in June 2004. Investigators initially attributed the murder attempt to the local Turkish gambling mafia. Years passed before authorities shifted their suspicion to the right-wing terrorists. In the early years of the investigation, family members of the victims faced allegations that their husbands, sons and brothers had been involved in criminal activities, thus making them targets for criminal groups. Read: How Germany remembers the NSU nail bomb attack The NSU trial began on May 6, 2013 in the 6th Criminal Division of Munich's Higher Regional Court. Beate Zschäpe and four suspected accomplices are being tried. Zschäpe has been charged with complicity in 10 counts of murder, arson, the formation of a terrorist organization and membership in a terrorist organization. She and co-defendant Ralf Wohlleben, a former official of the right-wing extremist National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD), have been held in custody since 2011. Who are the two dead NSU members? In the mid-1990s, the trio was active in the "Thüringer Heimatschutz" neo-Nazi organization, based in the eastern German state of Thuringia. Uwe Böhnhardt and Uwe Mundlos took their lives in November 2011 to avoid being arrested after botching the latest in a series of bank robberies. After their deaths, Zschäpe made a video confession before setting the trio's home on fire. Böhnhardt had already managed to avoid capture before: In January 1998 Böhnhardt’s garage in Jena was searched by police after a tip-off. They found enough explosives there to cause a major explosion, but Böhnhardt managed to flee the city before an arrest warrant was issued. Between 1998 and November 2011, Zschäpe, the main NSU trial defendant, lived a clandestine life with Mundlos and Böhnhardt. Nationwide, 160 police officers were tasked with the murder investigation. The NSU trio, however, remained unknown. Only after Zschäpe's video confession did the relationship between the crimes begin to materialize. Zschäpe turned herself in to the authorities four days after Böhnhardt and Mundlos' deaths, making a video confession before setting the home of the three on fire. Among other things, police found a gun in the burned-out apartment that was the one of those used in nine of the murders, giving them concrete evidence of the NSU's involvement. How has Beate Zschäpe behaved during the trial? Initially, Zschäpe did not speak during the trial, coming across as cold and distant. It took two-and-a-half years before the now 42-year-old unexpectedly decided to change her strategy in the courtroom by breaking her silence. It turned out to be a pivotal moment, as Zschäpe ultimately confirmed the main charges brought against her but with one exception - from her point of view, she insists that she did not know about the 10 murders. The prosecution, on the other hand, is firmly convinced that Zschäpe played a vital part in the NSU and was involved in all of the murders. An expert commissioned by the court came to the conclusion that Zschäpe is mentally sound and can be held fully responsible for her actions. The relatives of the murder victims, who are acting as joint plaintiffs, hoped in vain that Zschäpe would explain why their family members were murdered by the NSU. Zschäpe's defense team had urged her to use the strategy of silence, which she later abandoned. Since then, two new attorneys have been representing her. What role did the government play? The Bundestag, Germany's lower house of parliament, and many state parliaments set up investigative committees to shed light on the security authorities' failures in the NSU case. In the Bundestag's inquiry, members of parliament accused the prosecutor in charge, Herbert Diemer, of not having investigated evidence in order to protect domestic secret service agents and informants who may have had prior knowledge of crimes. One major unresolved mystery remains that of Andreas T., an intelligence officer for the state of Hesse who was sitting in the internet cafe in Kassel on April 6, 2006, when the owner, Halit Yozgat, was shot dead. He at first failed to come forward and, when his presence there was disclosed, he claimed to be unaware that the shooting had taken place. His case awakened further fears that German intelligence agencies may have in some way colluded with the NSU. Read: NSU: News from the informant front The role of informants, who were often high-ranking figures in the neo-Nazi scene, has also come under particular scrutiny. Several of them received large sums of money from the state, some of which actually went toward supporting the neo-Nazi scene, and they were also often warned in advance of house searches. It also remains unclear to what extent German intelligence authorities acted on the information they provided, or whether this information was really useful. Other criticism leveled at the investigation of the NSU's crimes, apart from allegations of systemic racism on the part of German authorities, revolved around the lack of cooperation between the various intelligence agencies and state interior ministries, which are responsible for police in the respective states. More than 30 official bodies in all were involved in the probe, often getting in each other's way owing to local loyalties rather than working together. Read: Neo-Nazi NSU murder report shows Angela Merkel's 'broken promises' It also emerged that shortly after Zschäpe's arrest, an official at Germany's domestic intelligence service, the BfV, had shredded several files pertaining to informants involved with the NSU. Other state agencies followed suit by destroying some 400 files and documents connected with the case. Officials said at the time that the files were destroyed to protect informants and stop state secrets becoming public. The victims' survivors and their attorneys pressed intelligence agencies over their questionable role in the affair, but failed to get answers. When can a verdict be expected? Over the past four years, the Munich court has heard 815 witnesses and interviewed 42 experts. Now the prosecution wants to begin closing arguments, a process expected to last 22 hours and be spread over several trial days until August 1. The defense will present their closing argument in September, after the summer holidays. The verdict for the five defendants could be announced later this year. Zschäpe potentially faces life in prison if found guilty.

The closing statements in the trial of the NSU right-wing terror cell are starting in Munich. A sentence could come later this year. DW answers five key questions from one of Germany’s most high-profile neo-Nazi cases. State prosecutors on Tuesday began their closing statements in one of the most important neo-Nazi trials ever seen in Germany. The case that has ... Read More »

Police arrest London Bridge attack suspect as May hints at limiting suspects’ rights

Police have made a fresh arrest tied to last week's attack in central London. With security in the spotlight ahead of elections, the UK's prime minister has proposed undermining human rights to improve public safety. Police on Wednesday arrested a 30-year-old man in the east London suburb of Ilford in connection to a deadly terror attack that left seven people dead and dozens more wounded in central London on Saturday. In a statement, authorities said the suspect was arrested on "suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorist acts." "Detectives investigating the London Bridge terror attack have carried out a search warrant at an address in east London in the early hours of Wednesday," police said. Read more: Banishing the 'extremist' image: A crucial task for British-Pakistanis The announcement comes as police have been pressed to explain their handling of suspected attacker Khuram B., who was known to authorities prior to Saturday's attack and appeared in the 2016 television documentary "The Jihadis Next Door." 'No intelligence to suggest attack' Although Khuram B. was known to authorities, police on Monday said, "There was no intelligence to suggest that this attack was being planned and the investigation had been prioritized accordingly." Earlier this week, authorities identified the assailants of the attack as 27-year-old Pakistan-born British citizen Khuram B., 30-year-old Libyan-Moroccan national Rachid R. and 22-year-old Italian-Moroccan Youssef Z. The self-styled "Islamic State" (IS) militant group claimed responsibility for the attack on Sunday. However, authorities have yet to announce whether the attack was coordinated by the militant group's operatives in Iraq or Syria, or by a UK-based cell. A spate of terror attacks on British soil has moved security into the spotlight ahead of key parliamentary elections slated for Thursday. British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday announced that she is willing to weaken fundamental rights in order to make it easier for authorities to detain suspected militants even when authorities did not have sufficient evidence to prosecute them. "If our human rights laws stop us from doing it, we will change the laws so we can do it," May said at an election rally. Read more: UK's 'Big Brother' anti-terror strategy is flawed, UN expert says Human rights organizations lashed out at May's proposal, saying it was "reckless and misinformed." Amnesty International said it "will not stand by silently when threats are made to 'rip up human rights laws.' Human rights are there to protect all in society - that is just pure common sense." May also proposed to extend the length of time authorities could detain suspects without charge from 14 days to 28 days, according to an interview published by the British newspaper The Sun. Security is a hot election topic In response to May's tough proposals, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said, "We will always keep the law under review, but don't believe would-be terrorists and suicide bombers will be deterred by longer sentences or restricting our rights at home." He also pledged to hire more police officers. The issue of security would appear to have closed the one-time large gap between the Conservatives and the Labour party. According to a poll published Tuesday by the group Survation, May's previous 20-point lead over Labour has withered to barely more than a single point - 41.6 percent to 40.4 percent. Most other polls, however, log a more comfortable lead between 5 and 10 percent. Editor's note: In a bid to limit their exposure, Deutsche Welle has decided to withhold terror suspects' names and obscure their faces.

Police have made a fresh arrest tied to last week’s attack in central London. With security in the spotlight ahead of elections, the UK’s prime minister has proposed undermining human rights to improve public safety. Police on Wednesday arrested a 30-year-old man in the east London suburb of Ilford in connection to a deadly terror attack that left seven people ... Read More »

Police arrest 12 in connection with London terror attack

At least seven people have been killed in London after a vehicle attack on London Bridge followed by a stabbing spree. Twelve people have been arrested in connection with the attack. Three knife-wielding attackers in a van plowed into pedestrians on London Bridge on Saturday evening before going on a stabbing spree in nearby streets and bars in what authorities described as a new trend in militant Islamist terrorism. Seven people died and dozens of others were injured in the attacks on the bridge and in the nearby busy Borough Market area before police shot dead the three men, who were wearing what looked like explosive vests that later turned out to be fakes. Police managed to kill the attackers within eight minutes of receiving first emergency calls. Twelve people were arrested in counterterrorism raids in the Barking area of east London, police said on Sunday. "The investigation into last night's horrific attack in London is progressing rapidly as the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) continue to piece together exactly what occurred," police said in a statement, adding that "a number of addresses" in Barking continue to be searched. Read here how events unfolded The London Ambulance Service said 48 people had been transported to five hospitals across the British capital. A London Transport Police officer armed only with a baton when he confronted the attackers was among those seriously injured with face, leg and head stab wounds. German officials confirmed on Sunday that two Germans were hurt in the attack, including one person who was severely injured. A Canadian was killed in the attack and a Spanish citizen, one Australian and four French people were also among the wounded. At the time of the attacks - around 10:00 p.m. local time (2100 UTC) - streets around London Bridge and Borough Market were crowded with people enjoying a Saturday night out in the district's fashionable bars and restaurants. British broadcaster BBC radio said witnesses described people throwing tables and chairs at the attackers to protect themselves. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, which come days ahead of a June 8 national election, and less than two weeks after 22 people were killed in a suicide attack in the northern city of Manchester while attending a concert by US pop singer Ariana Grande. Saturday's attacks bore similarities to one in March on Westminster Bridge in London, in which a man plowed into a crowd of pedestrians, killing five, and then stabbed a police officer to death in the grounds of parliament before being shot dead. Read: Ariana Grande visits Manchester bombing victims Crisis meeting Following a meeting of the government's COBRA emergency committee on Sunday, British Prime Minister Theresa May made a statement in which she called for increased unity in face of the terrorist threat. "We cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are," May said, calling for more international control of the internet to take away terrorists' "safe spaces" to spread their ideology and gain recruits. She added that in the real world "there is - to be frank - far too much tolerance of extremism in our country." May said Saturday's attacks were not connected to the Manchester and Westminster attacks in planning, but they were inspired by a "single, evil ideology of Islamist extremism" that perverted Islam as irreconcilable with Western values of tolerance and democracy. "We believe we are experiencing a new trend in the threat we face as terrorism breeds terrorism," she said. "Perpetrators are inspired to attack not only on the basis of carefully constructed plots ... and not even as lone attackers radicalized online, but by copying one another and often using the crudest of means of attack." She concluded her comments by saying: "United we will take on and defeat our enemies." Both the ruling Conservative Party and the Labour Party said on Sunday they would suspend their national campaigning for the upcoming election for a day. However, the anti-EU UK Independence Party (UKIP) said it would continue with its campaign, with leader Paul Nuttall saying that a suspension of campaigning was "precisely what the extremists would want us to do." British police have asked for people with photos or videos of the incidents to hand them to authorities so they can be used as possible evidence. International condemnation World leaders were quick to condemn the attacks. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a statement that her thoughts were with victims and their families and that Germany "stood firmly and resolutely at Great Britain's side against every form of terrorism." US President Donald Trump offered US assistance to Britain but also used the incident as an opportunity to call for his ban on travelers to the US from several Muslim countries - which he sees as a security measure - to go into force. French President Emmanuel Macron said on Twitter that "France is standing more than ever side by side with the UK." France itself is still under a state of emergency after a string of Islamic extremist attacks. London Mayor Sadiq Khan called on British citizens not to be cowed by the attacks and to vote on Thursday, as "one of the things these terrorists hate is voting; they hate democracy."

At least seven people have been killed in London after a vehicle attack on London Bridge followed by a stabbing spree. Twelve people have been arrested in connection with the attack. Three knife-wielding attackers in a van plowed into pedestrians on London Bridge on Saturday evening before going on a stabbing spree in nearby streets and bars in what authorities ... Read More »

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