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  • May the 22nd, 2017, and the Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi

  • has just detonated a homemade device,

  • killing 22 people attending an Ariana Grande concert.

  • It was the deadliest terror attack in the UK's most deadly year since the 7/7

  • bombings in London in 2005.

  • One year on, the threat from Islamist inspired extremism

  • shows no signs of abating.

  • The terror threat level in the UK remains severe,

  • one step down from its highest possible level,

  • and security officials say it could remain this way until 2020.

  • In the UK alone since the Westminster attack in March last year,

  • with the police we've thwarted a further 12 Islamist terror plots--

  • 12 occasions where we have good reason

  • to believe a terrorist attack would otherwise have taken place in our country.

  • MI5 and police are dealing with unprecedented numbers of leads

  • following last year's attacks in Manchester and London.

  • There are 500 separate investigations

  • and 3,000 subjects of interest being actively watched.

  • The heightened state of vigilance

  • is also explained by the shifting nature of the threat.

  • As ISIS has surrendered its strongholds in Iraq and Syria,

  • so the threat from returning jihadists has also grown.

  • At the same time, online extremists

  • are inspiring would-be terrorists remotely, encouraging and guiding

  • them to carry out low tech, lone wolf attacks which are so difficult to detect.

  • In this climate,

  • dropping your guard is not an option for the security services and the police.

  • We are highly effective at preventing attacks in this country,

  • but highly volatile people

  • who are intent on doing something absolutely terrible,

  • and in that act are quite happy, maybe even pleased, to kill themselves.

  • And to use low tech methods,

  • these are difficult things to defend against.

  • For a city which prides itself on its diversity,

  • the events of last year are still a shock.

  • But for the UK as a whole there is no sign

  • that the wider threat will ease anytime soon.

May the 22nd, 2017, and the Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi

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Manchester bombing a year on: why UK terror threat is still ‘severe’

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