Security services think they have prevented a conspiracy to kill Theresa May in Downing Street.
Two men have been detained on suspicion of scheming to assassinate the Prime Minister by using a bomb concealed as a bag to blow off the gates of Downing Street and then stab her with knives.
The suspects were detained during attacks in London and Birmingham and charged with terrorism crimes. They’re expected to appear in Westminster Magistrates’ Court today.
The plot was reported to the Cabinet by Andrew Parker, the head of MI5, who further informed ministers that security services have thwarted nine terrorist strikes on the United Kingdom in the last year.
The Metropolitan Police said Naa’imur Zakariyah Rahman, 20, from north London, and Mohammed Aqib Imran, 21, from Birmingham, had been charged with planning a terrorist act.
A Scotland Yard spokesperson refused to validate that the arrests were connected to a plot to attack Theresa May.
It comes as a new report discovered that security services could probably have foiled a suicide attack at the Manchester Arena in May. Bomber Salman Abedi killed 22 people when he blew himself up outside an Ariana Grande concert.
Abedi had been on MI5’s radar but that his true significance was not appreciated at the time and it’s likely that the Manchester attack, in particular, might have been prevented had the cards fallen differently.
Speaking to the Cabinet, Mr Parker reportedly announced that Isis had been defeated in Syria and Iraq but was continuing to organise strikes on the United Kingdom and that militants are increasingly using social media to try to communicate with would-be attackers.
The Prime Minister led gratitude to the tireless commitment of staff at MI5 to fight the unprecedented terrorist threat.
Cabinet ministers learned that while Daesh underwent significant defeats in Iraq and Syria, this did not suggest that the threat is over. Rather it is expanding to new regions, including seeking to promote attacks in the United Kingdom and elsewhere through publication on social media.
An inquiry found that MI5 was actively investigating the mastermind behind the London Bridge crime at the time the sick deed took place. Plus the official assessment further discovered that the Manchester bombing could have been averted had the cards fallen differently.
The report established that the three terrorists involved in the cowardly deeds that hit Britain between March and June this year had been on the authorities’ radar for some time and the UK’s security apparatus faced questions after dozens of victims were killed or wounded in Westminster, Manchester, London Bridge and Finsbury Park.
MI5 and police began independent reviews to investigate what was understood about the suspects before they struck and decisions made on intelligence and an independent evaluation of the findings by David Anderson QC concluded that there is no cause for despair, declaring most attacks continued to be successfully disrupted.
Although in the case of Finsbury Park, it can’t be said that MI5 and the police were entirely blindsided and Khalid Masood (Westminster) and Salman Abedi (Manchester) had both been subjects of concern, and Khuram Butt (London Bridge) continued to be under active investigation.
Substantial and appropriate coverage was in place around the essential individuals, and mechanisms intended to evaluate risk were operating as planned and MI5 and counter-terrorism policing got a great deal correct, especially in the case of Manchester, they could have succeeded had the cards fallen differently.