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This article originally appeared in The Telegraph.
Though details of Thursday’s thwarted attack in Westminster are still emerging, it appears that the intelligence agencies and police were well aware of the suspect, and prepared to swoop. The Prime Minister’s reference to an “intelligence led operation” – a euphemism for advanced warning – and the fact that the detention was executed in a crowded place with no injuries, suggests that the element of surprise was on the side of the authorities.
Though a Paris-style marauding gun attack remains the authorities’ greatest fear, the intelligence agencies have had significant success in disrupting complex attacks, which require extensive planning and the involvement of multiple individuals. Yesterday’s would-be attacker, who was in possession of a number of knives, fits the profile of Islamic State attackers, who have urged unsophisticated attacks by “lone wolves”, in order to evade pre-emptive detection.
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By Emma Webb