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UK terror threat level raised to ‘severe’ – meaning attack is ‘highly likely’

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The UK’s terror threat level has been raised from “substantial” to “severe”, meaning an attack is now judged to be “highly likely”.

The move follows Monday night’s attack in the Austrian capital Vienna, in which four people were killed.

Last week, three people died after a knife attack in Nice, France, while teacher Samuel Paty was murdered in Paris last month.

Home Secretary Priti Patel described the action as a “precautionary measure following the terrible incidents we’ve seen in France last week and the events we saw in Austria last night”.

“The British public should be alert but not alarmed,” Ms Patel said, as she confirmed there would now be “more visible policing across the country”.

She added: “That is right in light of the threat going up, but as I’ve said, the public should not be alarmed – this is a precautionary measure.”

The home secretary urged the public to report anything of concern to police.

The decision to raise the UK’s threat level has been taken by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC).

JTAC is based at MI5’s headquarters in London and is made up of counter-terror experts from the police, government and security agencies.

A UK security source told Sky News’ defence and security correspondent Alistair Bunkall that there was no specific threat to the UK but recent attacks in Europe had felt “different in tactic and tempo”, with the raised threat level a response to that.

The source added the UK has been operating at the top of “substantial” for some time and it wasn’t going to take much to nudge the UK into the “severe” category, with Vienna being that nudge.

Labour’s shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said: “This decision should not cause undue alarm but shows the importance of people continuing to be vigilant.

“Any suspicious activity should be reported to the police or the anti-terrorism hotline.”

The terror threat level had been at “substantial” since November last year, when it was lowered from “severe” for the first time in five years.

The “severe” level is the second-highest level, with only “critical” above it – which was reached in May 2017 after the Manchester Arena bombing.

Following Monday night’s attack in Vienna, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “deeply shocked”.

He added on Twitter: “The UK’s thoughts are with the people of Austria – we stand united with you against terror.”

The five terror threat levels are:

Low – an attack is highly unlikely
Moderate – an attack is possible, but not likely
Substantial – an attack is likely
Severe – an attack is highly likely
Critical – an attack is highly likely in the near future

This decision is a sobering indication of just how concerned intelligence officials are about the possibility a wave of terror attacks across Europe could spread to Britain.

The threat level now stands at ‘severe’, meaning a terror attack is highly likely.

It had previously been reduced to ‘substantial’ in November 2019.

This came after intelligence analysts assessed the threat to the UK from international terrorism was still significant, but had reduced enough to suggest planned attacks were no longer highly likely.

Now, the ongoing threat facing European nations has been rapidly reassessed following multiple attacks against French interests and Monday’s marauding gun attack in the Austrian capital, Vienna.

The motivation for the latest attack is still not entirely clear, but the gunman, who was shot dead by police, has sworn allegiance to the Islamic State terror group.

The group has already called for attacks against French interests because of the French government’s robust defence of the right to publish caricatures of the prophet Muhammad.

The stance has angered many in the Muslim world, who see such depictions of their most revered prophet as grossly offensive.

Courtesy of Sky News

France raises national terror alert system to MAXIMUM level after Nice church attack

The French government has placed the entire nation on high alert after three people were killed in a suspected terrorist attack in Nice. Police in Avignon later gunned down an assailant in a separate incident.

Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Thursday that the country’s Vigipirate national security alert system would be set at “attack emergency,” the highest level of the security protocol. The alert system was raised from “enhanced security – risk of attack,” French media reported.

Vigipirate is a French acronym for “vigilance and protection of installations against the risk of terrorist bombing attacks.”

Three people were killed hours earlier at a church in Nice. The suspect shouted “Allahu Akbar” as he used a knife to attack the congregation. Later, French media reported that a knife-wielding man was shot and killed after attempting to attack police in the city of Avignon.

Castex condemned the “cowardly” and “barbaric” attack in Nice, and said that the whole country was mourning for those who were killed.

The incidents occurred just one day after the French interior minister warned that the terrorist threat in the country is “very high.” The French government has vowed to rein in Islamic extremism after a schoolteacher, Samuel Paty, was beheaded by a radicalized Chechen refugee earlier this month. Paty’s murder was thought to have been provoked by his decision to show caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed to his students during a lecture about freedom of speech.

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Canada mass shooting: At least 19 victims and 16 crime scenes, police say #shooting #canada

Breaking News

More than 19 people are known to have died after a gunman, dressed as a police officer, opened fire in several locations across a Canadian province.

Police say they expect the death toll to rise but are aware of “in excess of 19 victims”, making it the deadliest mass shooting in Canada’s history.

The suspected attacker, Gabriel Wortman, a 51-year-old denturist, allegedly shot people in their homes and set properties and vehicles on fire in Nova Scotia.

Wortman had disguised his vehicle to look like a police car and was wearing uniform.

Some of the victims were known to the gunman, while others were randomly targeted.

In an update on Monday, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Chief Superintendent Chris Leather said he believed there may still be the remains of victims in homes which were burned to the ground.

He added there may be others who were injured during the shooting spree, but this has not been confirmed.

There are 16 crime scenes around central and northern Nova Scotia, and authorities say they are “relatively confident” they have identified all locations.

Wortman was arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) at a petrol station, and was later confirmed to have died.

One of the victims was 23-year-old Heidi Stevenson, a veteran of the RCMP and a married mother of two.

A second officer was injured but is said to be recovering at home.

Authorities said Wortman’s use of a bogus police vehicle and uniform had likely contributed to his ability to target people and drive around without being detected.

Courtesy of Sky News

UK Military join police to enforce tough coronavirus lockdown over Easter weekend #COVID19 #coronavirus #UK #Military #Police #Easter

Coronavirus Alert_2

THE MILITARY has been deployed to help police patrols maintain the coronavirus lockdown over the Easter weekend.

Police and military force will form joint boat patrols in the southwest coast. Authorities are warning people not to violate the lockdown during the weekend after the UK saw a record number of coronavirus deaths.

Police forces have faced criticism over “heavy handed” lockdown enforcement.

Downing street has warned police after an officer tweeted that they were patrolling inside supermarkets against non-essential shopping.

The Cambridgeshire police post stated that officers had visited a Tesco at Barhill to make sure people were following social distancing regulations, and that “the non-essential aisles were empty”.

The prime minister’s spokesman said: “We set out a list of shops which could remain open and if the shops are on that list then they are free to sell whatever they have in stock. Obviously provided it’s legal to do so.”

Social media users then took to Twitter to criticise the move, adding that officers’ time could be spent on other issues.

A spokesman for the National Police Chiefs’ Council said that officers were not controlling the supermarket as it had its own security personnel.

He reassured that police officers would only go into supermarkets if there was an incident or if supermarket staff called them.

Cambridgeshire police said that the original tweet had been made by an “over exuberant officer”.

They added: “For clarification, the force position, in line with national guidance, is that we are not monitoring what people are buying from supermarkets.”

The officer’s original post has since been deleted.

In South Yorkshire a police officer was filmed admonishing a parent for allowing their children to play on their property’s front garden.

The South Yorkshire force said that the encounter had been “well intentioned but ill informed”.

The officer told the family: “You do not want your children getting the virus, it does not stop in front of your garden.”

Police in Durham told cyclists in a tweet: “If you haven’t got blue lights on your bike, you probably shouldn’t be on the roads this weekend.”

One user replied: “Errrm, cycling is a form of exercise. Or what if people are going shopping?”

In Brighton police near sea front used loudspeakers to give warning messages and deter visitors.

Paul Netherton, deputy chief constable of Devon and Cornwall police, said: “We are working with the Ministry of Defence police this weekend.

“Their marine fleets from bases in Portsmouth and Plymouth will be operating along the Dorset, Devon and Cornwall coastlines ensuring people do not gather unnecessarily on beaches. They have tannoy and can tell people to move on.”

In London, Camden Council and the Royal Parks joined together to paint signs on the grass at Primrose Hill that read: “Stay 2m apart, protect the NHS,” ahead of the nice weather that might prompt large gatherings.

Council officials in Bournemouth taped off seafront seats, while 2,000 beach huts are shuttered.

In Wales road blocks were put in place to keep tourists out of seaside towns.

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority announced: “We’re closed.”

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