8 Jul 2009

Neo-Nazis are plotting a 'spectacular' terrorist attack on Britain to fuel racial tension, Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism officers fear.

Senior officers have increased their surveillance of suspects to monitor their ability to carry out a deadly attack aimed at causing a 'breakdown in community cohesion'.

The chilling warning comes after last month's startling gains by the BNP in the local and European elections which many fear may 'embolden' violent Far-Right extremists.

Commander Shaun Sawyer, from the Met's specialist operations wing told a meeting of British Muslims last night: 'I fear that they will have a spectacular ...

'They will carry out an attack that will lead to a loss of life or injury to a community somewhere. They're not choosy about which community.'

His comments came after Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson asked officers to examine what effect the recession could have on far-right violence.

And the news mirrors similar warnings of the threat from far-right sympathisers issued in America in recent months.

While countering a threat from Islamic extremists remains the priority many officers now believe that funds need to be funnelled towards preventing a possible strike by the Far-Right.

Threat level in the UK may be downgraded, says terror chief

Despite the warning, Assistant Commissioner John Yates today warned that counter terrorism police face budget cuts.

He admitted savings must be made in two years time despite the risks posed by the looming London 2012 Olympic Games.

The senior officer, who took control of Scotland Yard's specialist operations wing three months ago, said it would be "naive" to think counter terrorism work would escape the recession.

Last weekend it was revealed that a network of suspected extremists with access to 300 weapons and 80 bombs has been uncovered by counter- terrorism detectives.

Thirty-two people were questioned by police and 22 properties were raided over an alleged plot to bomb mosques.

It was the biggest terrorist arms haul since the IRA mainland bombings in the 1990s.

Sir Norman Bettison, the chief constable of West Yorkshire, said: 'The big bad wolf is still the Al-Qaeda threat.

'But my people are knocking over right-wing extremists quite regularly. We are interdicting it so that it doesn't first emerge into the public eye out of a critical incident like an explosion.'

It is more than 10 years since neo-Nazi nail bomber David Copeland attacked three targets in London in 1999.

Three people died at the Admiral Duncan gay pub in Soho.

Copeland also targeted the Muslim community in Brick Lane, east London, and a supermarket in Brixton, south London.

Abdurahman Jafar of the Muslim Safety Forum, where the concerns were raised, said:

'Muslims are the first line of victims in the extreme right's campaign of hate and division and they make no secret about that.

'Statistics show a strong correlation between the rise of racist and Islamophobic hate crime and the ascendancy of the BNP.'

Mark Gardner, of the Community Security Trust, which monitors violence against Jews, said there has been a surge in right-wing incidents.

He said: 'Ten years after the Nazi nail bombings in London, we are seeing increasing numbers of neo-Nazis being arrested in their attempts to start some kind of so-called race war.

'It is the Muslim community that appears to be most targeted, but all of society is at risk, and we are in regular discussion with police about the problem.

'Worse still, the recent electoral successes for the BNP may cause some would-be terrorists to be further emboldened in their actions.'

Last year neo-Nazi Martyn Gilleard, 31, was convicted of three terrorism offences and jailed for 16 years.

Gilleard idolised Adolf Hitler and urged sympathisers to act to preserve the 'purity of the white race'.

When police raided his flat they found bullets, swords, knives and four nail bombs under a bed used by his five-year-old child.

Officers also found DIY bomb manuals, a guide on making a sub-machine gun and internet instructions on carrying out assassinations by poison.

A speech he had recorded in a notebook mentioned 'killing Muslims, blowing up mosques and fighting back'.

No one at the Muslim Safety Forum was available for comment. The Metropolitan Police declined to comment.

Last month a white supremacist with links to the BNP shot dead a security guard at Washington's Holocaust Museum in a racially-motivated killing.

Before launching the attack, 88-year-old James von Brunn sent out an email claiming: 'It's time to kill all the Jews.'

Von Brunn was shot and wounded by museum security officers after he walked into the packed tourist attraction and began firing indiscriminately.


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