Responding to recent events in Syria and Iraq, Britain has upgraded its security threat level to “severe,” the government has announced, meaning a terrorist attack there is “highly likely.” The nation’s Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, an independent body, made the determination based on its latest intelligence, officials said. This is the first time in three years that the U.K. has been at such a heightened security threat level.
The announcement of the increased threat level cited terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq that are “planning attacks against the West,” saying some plots are likely to involve Europeans that have traveled to the region to take part in the fighting.
In a news conference, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said citizens were “shocked and sickened” by the murder of American journalist James Foley, and by revelations that the terrorist who killed him was likely British. “It was clear evidence… that this is not some foreign conflict thousands of miles from home that we can hope to ignore,” Cameron told reporters. “The ambition to create an extremist caliphate in the heart of Iraq and Syria is a threat our own security here in the U.K.”