MI5 boss: Islamic State planning mass terrorist attacks on London

Intelligence service also admits hacking IS communications for first time

MI5 director general Andrew Parker has said that Islamic State extremists are planning mass terror attacks on London, and warned that “home grown” jihadis remained a threat to the country.

Speaking at the annual Lord Mayor’s defence and security lecture, Parker said that the threat to Britain was at the highest level he had seen during his 32-year career.

He also said that for the first time, MI5 had to carry out computer hacking attacks against terrorists in order to crack their communications.

Over the past year, MI5 has foiled six terrorist attacks in Britain and several abroad, Parker said.

He added: “It may not yet have reached the high water mark, and despite the successes we have had, we can never be confident of stopping everything.”

Currently, four fifths of MI5’s 4,000 workers are engaged in preventing terrorist attacks.

“We are seeing plots against the UK directed by terrorists in Syria; enabled through contacts with terrorists in Syria; and inspired online by Isil’s sophisticated exploitation of technology,” he said.

“On top of that, in a range of attacks in Europe and elsewhere, this year we have seen greater ambition for mass casualty attacks.

“All of this means that the threat we are facing today is on a scale and at a tempo that I have not seen before in my career.”

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