ISLAMIC State jihadists are planning “enormous and spectacular” terror attacks on British soil, the country’s head of counter-terrorism warned today.
Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, the National Policing Lead for Counter Terrorism at Scotland Yard, said the extremist organisation was broadening its terror campaign to attack “Western lifestyle” targets.
He said: “In recent months we’ve seen a broadening of that, much more plans to attack Western lifestyle, and obviously the Paris attacks in November.
“Going from that narrow focus on police and military as symbols of the state to something much broader. And you see a terrorist group which has big ambitions for enormous and spectacular attacks, not just the types that we’ve seen foiled to date.
“You see a terrorist group that whilst on the one hand has been acting as a cult to use propaganda to radicalise people to act in their name … you also see them trying to build bigger attacks.”
The top police officer said that ISIS was trying to smuggle supporters who have received military training in Syria into northern Europe to stage attacks.
Mr Rowley also warned of a spike in the number of child and female terror suspects being arrested.
Around one in six of those (14 per cent) were female, he said, while 13 per cent were aged 20 and under.
The counter-terror boss said: “That would not have been the picture that one would have seen a few years ago. That is an indication of that radicalisation, the effect of the propaganda and the way the messages of Daesh (ISIS) are resonating with some individuals.”