Terror activity is growing, police say

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The level of "sinister" terrorist activity in Britain is increasing as the anniversary of last year's July 7 attacks on London approaches, the head of Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist squad has warned.

Over the past 12 months, he said, police had disrupted "three or four" potential plots and were involved in more than 70 separate investigations . More than 60 individuals are awaiting trial. "This is unprecedented and the flow of new cases shows no sign of abating - if anything it is accelerating,'' Peter Clarke, the head of counter terrorism for the Metropolitan Police, said.

"It is not simply because the police have greater visibility and are certainly joining up the dots a lot more, but there is a lot more going on out there." Some of the intelligence examined by police was "very sinister", he said. The fact that the majority of those under suspicion were British citizens was alarming, as was the "extreme youth" of some of them, he added.

He said that although some of the peopleat the centre of investigations had links to al-Qa'ida training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as Bosnia and Chechnya, there had been no indications of a greater radicalisation caused by the Iraq conflict.

Security has been stepped up in the approach to the first annniversary, on Friday, of the London bombings. A two-minute silence will be held as part of a programme of remembrance.

* Intelligence sources say Islamic fundamentalists with al-Qa'ida sympathies tried to infiltrate MI5 during a recruitment drive for undercover agents but vetting had weeded them out.