Terror plot to kill British PM Theresa May foiled: What we know so far

British PM Theresa May at 10 Downing Street (Reuters/File photo) Related News

Security officials in Britain reportedly thwarted an Islamist terror plot to kill Prime Minister Theresa May by two alleged terrorists who were arrested last week. Andrew Parker, Director of the British security service MI5, told UK Cabinet ministers that suspects had planned to launch improvised explosive devices at Downing Street first and then kill May in the chaos that followed, reported Sky News. 

The duo were arrested on November 26 in a joint operation by MI5 and counter-terrorism police officers from Scotland Yard and the West Midlands, The Guardian reported. The men, who had been charged with terrorism offenses, would appear in Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday. They were identified as Naa’imur Zakariyah Rahman, 20, of north London, and Mohammed Aqib Imran, 21, of south-east Birmingham. The Metropolitan police said on Tuesday the two had been charged “with the intention of committing acts of terrorism” and they with “engaging in conduct in preparation for giving effect to that intention”.

The news of Theresa May’s alleged assassination comes against a backdrop of claims from security officials that Britain is facing a heightened terrorist threat, with Parker claiming in a recent speech that it is the worst he has known in his 34-year career. Currently, the official terror threat level in Britain is at severe which means that an attack is likely. On Tuesday, May’s spokesperson said Britain had foiled nine terror attacks in the past 12 months.

Britain was recently hit by a series of attacks in Westminster, Manchester and London which led to the death of 36 people. After the Manchester bombing and three other terror attacks in London, counter-terror police and MI5 had conducted internal reviews. Based on these reviews, David Anderson QC — an Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation in the UK between 2011 and 2017 — said the Manchester Arena bomber had been a “subject of interest” and opportunities to stop him were missed. The reviews also showed the two other attackers who had been on MI5’s radar were Khuram Butt, the leader of the London Bridge and Borough Market attack, and Khalid Masood who targeted Westminster Bridge in March.

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