Cameron: ISIL militants are plotting ‘terrible’ UK attacks
LONDON / TUNIS
AFP photoPrime Minister David Cameron warned June 29 that Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants based in Syria and Iraq were planning specific attacks against Britain and posed an existential threat to the West.
Cameron was speaking after an Islamist gunman killed up to 30 British tourists in an attack on June 26 that British politicians have described as the single worst assault on their nationals since the bombing of the London underground in 2005.
“It is an existential threat because what is happening here is the perversion of a great religion and the creation of this poisonous death cult is seducing too many young minds,” Cameron told BBC radio.
“There are people in Iraq and Syria who are plotting to carry out terrible acts in Britain and elsewhere and as long as ISIL exists in those two countries we are at threat,” said Cameron.
Britain’s international terror threat is currently set at “severe,” its second highest level, and a rung which means an attack is “highly likely.” Police say they have launched one of their largest counter-terrorism operations in a decade after the murders in Tunisia.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph newspaper, Cameron signaled he wanted authorities to take a tougher line against Muslim extremists in Britain to do more to challenge what he said were their unacceptable views.
“We must be more intolerant of intolerance - rejecting anyone whose views condone the Islamist extremist narrative,” Cameron wrote.
UK’s Home Secretary Theresa May vowed June 29 that “the terrorists will not win” after paying tribute in Tunisia to the 38 people, mainly Britons, killed by a jihadist gunman.
Her Tunisian counterpart Najem Gharsalli said that security forces have made their first arrests over the beach attack, “a significant number of people, from the network that was behind this terrorist criminal”.
Speaking to reporters from the Riu Imperial Marhaba hotel that the lone shooter had targeted, May vowed to fight back against extremists.
“We will be united in working together to defeat them but united also in working to defend our values,” May said, branding the killings “a despicable act of cruelty.”
“We are resolved... to defeat those who would do us harm, to defeat those who would undermine our freedom and democracy and to ensure that the terrorists do not win,” she added.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve echoed May’s words and said: “We will win this war.”
“I want to express the absolute determination we have to reinforce our cooperation in the fight against terrorism,” said Cazeneuve, adding that France would help “ensure the development” of Tunisia’s economy.
The authorities have identified the attacker as 23-year-old student Seifeddine Rezgui, who pulled a Kalashnikov rifle from inside a beach umbrella and opened fire on holidaymakers at the resort before being shot dead.
Tunisian Minister Gharsalli warned “anyone who provided any logistical or financial assistance” to Rezgui would be arrested.
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere also said the four countries would work together “so that the terrorists don’t have the last word.”
Earlier, the ministers joined Tunisian officials in laying a wreath in the sand near the hotel where the attack took place.