David Cameron, British PM, plans new laws to tackle terrorism threat
U.K. raises terror threat level to severe over Syria, Iraq concerns
British Prime Minister David Cameron says he'll introduce new laws to combat terror suspects, pledging to seize passports to fight what he described as an extremist threat more dangerous than any previously seen.
Cameron told reporters that while the Taliban facilitated al-Qaeda terrorism, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria group is "effectively a state run by terrorists."
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"We could be facing a terrorist state on the shores of the Mediterranean and bordering a NATO member," he said.
Cameron's remarks came just after authorities on Friday raised the terror threat level to severe, the second highest level.
Home Secretary Theresa May said the decision to raise the threat level was related to developments in Iraq and Syria, but that there was no information to suggest an attack was imminent. Some of the plots are likely to involve fighters who have travelled from Britain and Europe to take part in fighting in the Middle East.
"We face a real and serious threat in the U.K. from international terrorism," she said. "I would urge the public to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to the police."
May says the decision by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre is made on the basis of intelligence and is independent of government.
Netherlands targets radicalization of Muslims
The Dutch government unveiled a package of measures Friday aimed at countering radicalization of Muslims in the country, a day after police announced the arrest of two men suspected of recruiting people to fight in conflicts in Syria and Iraq.
In the Netherlands, there is no room for spreading hate or extremism.- Statement from Prime Minister Mark Rutte's government
The proposals include beefing up the government's powers to strip people of their Dutch nationality if they join terrorist organizations overseas or play a role — as teacher or student — in foreign terror training camps.
They also are aimed at countering the spread of extremism online and via social media by tackling internet providers that knowingly allow terror organizations to spread jihadi propaganda.
"In the Netherlands, there is no room for spreading hate or extremism," Prime Minister Mark Rutte's government said in a statement.
Justice and Security Minister Ivo Opstelten said about 130 Dutch citizens have already travelled to the Middle East to fight with militants group like ISIS and al-Qaeda and more than 30 have already returned. The Dutch and other governments around Europe say such returning jihadis — radicalized, hardened by brutal conflict and trained to kill — pose a significant risk to society.
In The Hague, Opstelten stressed that radical Muslims in the Netherlands form a "small but dangerous" minority in the Muslim population.
There are around one million Muslims in the overall Dutch population of 17 million.
Opstelten said local authorities will work with moderate Muslims to tackle the spread of radicalization.
Outspoken anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders said the government measures didn't go far enough. He called them a weak and "politically correct" response.
U.K.'s last severe threat level in Sept. 2010
British police have appealed to the public to help identify aspiring terrorists after the killing of an American journalist focused attention on extremism in the U.K.
The involvement of a person of British nationality in James Foley's beheading underscored the need to identify those who might travel abroad to fight or are at risk of being radicalized.
Authorities say around 70 arrests have been made in the first half of the year for a variety of offences, including fundraising, preparing for terrorism acts and travelling abroad for terrorist training. The police say such arrests are being made at a rate five times greater than 2013.
The last time the rate was raised to severe was in September 2010 — in response to the attempt to detonate a bomb on a U.S. passenger plane over Detroit. It was last at the highest level, or critical, in June 2007, after a car on fire was driven into the Glasgow Airport terminal building and —separately — two devices were found in cars in central London.