3,000 jihadis on the streets of Britain: Spies and counter-terror police are struggling to monitor a flood of radicalised men and women in their teens and early twenties.
But with the terror group being pushed out, extremists with British passports are fleeing back to the UK where authorities fear they may unleash a new wave of attacks.
Join – Ban Islam in Europe
Although more than 100 have been killed, around half have returned home with battle experience and training in the use of explosives and firearms.
WHY THE UK GAVE SANCTUARY TO EXTREMIST ENEMIES OF COLONEL GADDAFI
Britain gave sanctuary to enemies of Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi – even though some had links to Muslim extremists.
Hundreds of political opponents of the tyrant were given asylum during the 1980s and 1990s.
Some of them belonged to the hardline Libyan Islamist Fighting Group. At least one Libyan was based in Manchester, and frequented Didsbury mosque, one of the main centres of anti-Gaddafi activity in Britain. But the men were betrayed as Britain sought Libyan help with extremists in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
The security services have also foiled at least 13 planned attacks in the past four years, Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism officer, Acting Deputy Met Commissioner Mark Rowley, has revealed.
The figures lay bare the scale of the terror threat facing the country from extremists.
The flood of new jihadists is stretching the UK’s security services to breaking point, with up to 30 officers required to provide 24-hour monitoring of just one suspect. Restricted resources mean MI5 can watch around 50 terror suspects around the clock.
As well as sophisticated plots to bomb transport hubs and shopping centres, jihadists in the UK are being groomed – often online – to carry out ‘lone wolf’ attacks using knives and vehicles.
A chilling report also revealed that the wives and children of Islamic State fighters in Syria could be brainwashed into carrying out attacks after returning to Britain. Europol, the EU’s police intelligence agency, said many posed a grave danger because they had been radicalised and desensitised to extreme violence.
In 2016-17, there were 380 terrorism-related arrests in the UK, compared to 307 in the previous 12 months – a rise of nearly 25 per cent. Anti-terror police stepped up arrests after Muslim convert Khalid Masood killed four pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in March before stabbing a police officer to death.
Meanwhile, in the past three years there were 386 terror-related convictions, according to figures from Scotland Yard. -Mailonline