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Militants will attack London with missiles because security services have become so adept at defending Britain from conventional terror plots, experts warn

  • An expert warned militants will attack the capital from a longer range 
  • This is because security services have become so good at defending Britain from ‘conventional’ terror plots
  • Britain is currently developing ground based missile defence radar system
  • See more news on London at www.dailymail.co.uk/london 

Militants will attack the capital from a longer range because security services have become so good at defending Britain from ‘conventional’ terror plots, he said.

Peter Roberts, an expert at the Royal United Services Institute, said London was too difficult for suicide bombers to attack – but they could wipe out civilians with a missile thousands of miles away.

Using a map stretching out to Iran, he said: ‘These are the nations where not necessarily rogue states, but rogue actors, could hit.

‘Those that have the ability and the interest in taking a shot at London. London is attractive because it is so well defended there is no other way to hit it.’

An expert warned: 'You only need to look at Brussels to understand that terrorists are much more fluid than we are. They will change their doctrine, their methods and their targets'

Britain is currently developing a ground based missile defence radar system, which will be able to detect incoming ballistic missiles so warships can shoot them down.

Setting out the UK’s plan to thwart missile attacks from jihadists, a senior Ministry of Defence Official warned Britain could be targeted in the future.

Peter Watkins, director of general security policy at the MoD, told a RUSI missile conference in London: ‘We do not believe that the threat at this point requires interceptors in the UK.

‘But we are concerned about the threat to our allies in the areas I’ve mentioned and over time in the UK itself.

‘So we decided we the UK should make a national contribution to enhance the collective architecture. ‘

But Mr Roberts, a senior research fellow at RUSI, suggested that terrorists could attack London now.

He said: ‘The number of operations that the security services unpick and overturn every year makes it (London) a very difficult target for terrorist activity.

‘You only need to look at Brussels to understand that terrorists are much more fluid than we are.

‘They will change their doctrine, their methods and their targets. Paris became too difficult, so they attacked Brussels.

‘London is a difficult target for a conventional suicide bomber. It’s not so difficult for a ballistic missile.’

Setting out the UK's plan to thwart missile attacks from jihadists, a senior Ministry of Defence Official warned Britain could be targeted in the future

Mr Roberts, a senior research fellow at RUSI, said: 'London is a difficult target for a conventional suicide bomber. It's not so difficult for a ballistic missile'

The UK currently has no missile defence system as it is believed no nation is within range of striking the capital with a ballistic missile at present.

The furthest Iran’s battery of ballistic missiles can travel at present is 2,000 miles – around 2,000 miles short of London.

But there are fears more advanced weapons systems could end up in the hands of jihadists in countries closer to the UK – including in war-torn Libya where Islamic State and sophisticated weaponry is rife. Tripoli is just 1,800 miles from London.

Mr Roberts said the UK currently had a ‘passive defence scheme’ where it is believed there will be sufficient warning of a missile being launched in the Middle East and civilians will have time to flee.

Commenting on the current lack of technology to defeat the threat, he said: ‘If we want to protect our cities we need to buy that protection. It doesn’t come for free.’

He said the enemy was not looking at taking out military personnel – but lots of civilians.

He said militants were fighting in ‘immoral, unethical terms’, and given this, he added: ‘why would you pick to try and hit one UK armoured division or the US 82nd airborne with a ballistic missile when you could hit London?

‘Because our enemy is not looking to destroy our forces, they are looking for a cognitive impact.

‘They’re looking for economic disruption, they’re looking to gain influence over the general population. This is about messaging.

‘Instead of looking how far they can strike, let’s look at how far we have to defend.’

Mr Roberts added: ‘We are not looking at adversaries who are planning to attack deployed forces. We are not looking at adversaries who are planning to engage in a decisive battle, we are not looking at adversaries who are going to fight by our rules.

‘It’s about how they choose to fight us and how they choose to respond.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3538123/Militants-attack-London-missiles-security-services-adept-defending-Britain-conventional-terror-plots-experts-warn.html

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