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UK terrorist threat level raised to ‘severe’, Theresa May says

Theresa May, Home Seretary has just announced that The UK’s terror threat level is being raised from “substantial” to “severe” in response to conflicts in Iraq and Syria

The new alert level means an attack on the UK is “highly likely”, although Mrs May said there was no intelligence to suggest an attack was “imminent”.

This is the second highest of five possible UK threat levels.

PM David Cameron said at least 500 people have travelled from UK “to fight in Syria and potentially Iraq”.

National Policing Lead for Counter-Terrorism Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said security and protection measures were being increased from Friday.

Efforts are also under way to identify a suspected British jihadist who appeared in Islamic State (IS) footage of the killing of US journalist James Foley.

The extremist group has announced the establishment of a “caliphate”, or Islamic state, across parts of Iraq and Syria and has forced members of minority communities from their homes.

Scotland Yard chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has said the force is prepared in case large numbers of British would-be extremists decide to return at the same time.

In a statement Mrs May said: “The increase in the threat level is related to developments in Syria and Iraq where terrorist groups are planning attacks against the West.

“Some of those plots are likely to involve foreign fighters who have travelled there from the UK and Europe to take part in those conflicts.

“The first and most important duty of government is the protection of the British people.

“We have already taken steps to improve our powers and increase our capabilities for dealing with the developing terrorist threats we face. That process will continue and the British public should be in no doubt that we will take the strongest possible action to protect our national security.”

She said the UK faced a “real and serious” threat from international terrorism, urging members of the public to remain vigilant.’

Full report can be found on the BBC website