Isis and other Islamist terror groups plotting similar attack to 9/11, says US security chief

'They want to take down aircraft, the intelligence is clear on that'

Samuel Osborne
Thursday 19 October 2017 10:03 BST
Comments
Smaller attacks do not mean terror groups have given up on 'major aviation plot', America's acting secretary of homeland security said
Smaller attacks do not mean terror groups have given up on 'major aviation plot', America's acting secretary of homeland security said (Robert Giroux/Getty Images)

Support truly
independent journalism

Our mission is to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting that holds power to account and exposes the truth.

Whether $5 or $50, every contribution counts.

Support us to deliver journalism without an agenda.

Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

Isis and other Islamist terror groups are still plotting to bring down a plane in a similar attack to 9/11, Donald Trump's acting secretary of homeland security has warned.

Elaine Duke said jihadists were using lower level plots, such as knife or vehicle attacks, to raise money and keep their members engaged.

"The threat is still severe," Ms Duke told an event at the US Embassy in London, describing Isis as being in an "interim" period as it focuses on a bigger endgame.

Isis completely driven out of Raqqa by US-backed forces

"The terrorist organisations, be it Isis or others, want to have the big explosion like they did on 9/11," she said, the Daily Mail reported. "They want to take down aircraft, the intelligence is clear on that.

"However, in the interim they need to keep their finances flowing and they need to keep their visibility high and they need to keep their members engaged, so they are using small plots and they are happy to have small plots."

She added: "Creating terror is their goal and so a van attack, a bladed weapon attack, causes terror and continues to disrupt the world – but does not mean they’ve given up on a major aviation plot."

Her comments came one day after the head of MI5 warned Britain was experiencing an unrelenting and unprecedented terror offensive.

Andrew Parker said in his 34 years working for the Security Service he had never faced such a relentless tempo of attempted and successful bombings, shootings and stabbings.

Ms Duke also said the US and Britain would push social media firms to do more to remove extremist propaganda at a meeting of G7 interior ministers.

Authorities say Isis propaganda has played a major part in radicalising people in the West but despite its defeat in its de facto capital Raqqa in Syria, Ms Duke said the group's online presence was likely to increase.

"I would surmise being able to put terrorist propaganda on the internet might become more imperative," she added.

She also warned that those who turned to violence by being radicalised by such material posed a bigger problem than the comparatively small number of fighters who had joined the militant group returning to US.

"The number of foreign fighters we have returning is declining," she said. "The number of home-grown violent extremists, most of them inspired by terrorist organisations, is increasing."

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in