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'Police can't fight terror groups on their own'.

Byline: Darren Devine Reporter

BRITAIN'S counter-terror chief has warned that police alone cannot combat violent extremists.

Launching a UK anti-terror campaign, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said authorities have disrupted several attack plots and made 271 arrests.

But in a week when counter-terror officers will brief more than 6,000 people at 80 venues, he warned: "The eyes and ears of law enforcement and other agencies alone cannot combat the threat."

In Wales the threat was brought home earlier this year when it emerged that Cardiff trio Nasser Muthana, 20; his brother Aseel, 17; and their friend Reyaad Khan, 21; went to Syria to fight for Islamic State (IS).

It followed the jailing of Cardiff brothers Gurukanth Desai and Abdul Miah for almost 29 years in 2012 for their role in a plan to bomb the London Stock Exchange.

A third city man, Omar Sharif Latif, was jailed for 10 years and four months for his part in the plot. Counter-terrorism awareness week comes a few months after the terror threat level in the UK was raised from substantial to severe, meaning a terrorist attack is "highly likely".

Mr Rowley said of terrorists: "They are no longer a problem solely stemming from countries like Iraq and Afghanistan. Now they are in our communities, radicalised... and prepared to kill for their cause."

Community worker Said Abdi believes it's vital that youngsters are educated to critically assess online material used by extremists to brainwash them. Mr Abdi, 37, who works in Cardiff trying to prevent youngsters being radicalised, said: "It's all about the right education. They don't know how to be critical" This week police officers and theatre groups will speak to students about the Prevent strategy, which aims to stop people from being radicalised.

Meanwhile, sniffer dogs will be seeking cash at ports, airports and railway stations, to prevent it leaving the UK for IS. Other events include working with farmers to ensure fertilisers - that can be adapted into explosives - are stored securely.

Fears of a UK attack have heightened in the wake of the rise of IS, which has taken over large swathes of Iraq and Syria and beheaded hostages. General secretary of the Muslim Council of Wales, Saleem Kidwai, branded the IS radicals involved in beheadings as "criminals", but suggested some may have been radicalised by global paralysis over Syria's murderous dictator Bashar Al-Assad.

Labour Cardiff South and Penarth MP Stephen Doughty, who voted against action on Assad but in favour of attacking IS, said: "It requires the public, community and community leaders working together to identify suspicious activity, but, most importantly, build resilience against radicalisation in the first place."


Terror suspects who were sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court, from left, Mohibur Raham, Gurukanth Desai, <B Abdul Miah, Usman Khan, Mohammed Chowdhury, and Mohammed Shahjahan in Roath Park in 2010

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 24, 2014
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