UK intelligence service MI5, which focuses on domestic threats, has revealed a staggering 23,000 potential jihadists are now being monitored. This is the first time such a large number has been publicly admitted, and follows the Manchester suicide bomb attack which targeted children at a pop concert. Twenty two have died so far.
Whitehall sources disclosed the huge task now facing counter-terrorism agencies, presenting extreme difficulty and spiralling costs. MI5 has faced criticism for not preventing the Manchester attack, and this disclosure goes some way to explain how jihadists can still slip through the net. MI5 currently has around 500 active investigations involving 3,000 suspects. These figures alone are intimidating, but the additional 20,000 “residual” suspects present a colossal challenge to security services.
With apparently no concrete government action being taken to deal with this threat to national security, there is currently no respite in sight. While deportation, tagging and other options are being discussed by the public on social media, Prime Minister Theresa May has given no indication any bold steps will be taken to turn back this evil tide.
While 23,000 extremists have been identified so far, the true number could be many more.
Photo by Lee Thomas