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In this period the Counter-Terrorism Local Profile (CTLP) for Waltham Forest, one of the six Olympic boroughs, was leaked. The document identifies a high level of concern over al-Qaeda’s ability to inspire males aged 20-38, predominantly British born second/third generation South Asian migrants. Signs of “jihadi cool” have been reported in local gangs, mostly made up of youths from the aforementioned communities, and the perception of deprivation within the Pakistani community is particularly highlighted. Concerns over penetration by al-Qaeda in the Maghreb and other North African jihadist movements, as well as political movements such as Hizb-ut Tahrir, were also in evidence.
This fits with our previous assessment that a lone wolf jihadist attack remains one of the most serious security concerns around the games. However, the report also mentions growing right-wing extremism – itself in part a response to the growing radicalisation of
We suspect that the CTLPs for the other Olympic boroughs would evidence similar concerns. Our current understanding is that elements within the Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Somali, Nigerian and Algerian communities in this area are considered to pose the greatest potential dangers. Some Algerian and Somali criminal gangs operating in East London are known to have access to weapons, although non-availability of ammunition continues to be a constraint on their use for a large-scale terrorist incident, and we still consider that a lone wolf attack would be most likely to use home-made explosives.
Meanwhile, the release of controversial jihadist preacher Abu Qatada (see previous Monitors) in this period has led to focused reporting on the potential threat. He will of course be heavily monitored, although his release is being seen by affiliates as a triumph, and this may prove an inspiration (both nationally and internationally) in and of itself regardless of his activities. Reports that Saajid Badat will be released from jail in advance of the games have also drawn opprobrium. However, this is overstated: Pakistani-trained Badat was intended to be the accomplice to shoe-bomber Richard Reid, but he voluntarily withdrew from the 2001 operation. The explosives were kept at his home and he was subject to an arrest operation in November 2003, being sentenced for his part in the plot (and failure to reveal it to police) in 2005, but his withdrawal from the operation and ready cooperation with the subsequent investigation indicates that he has little further focus on violent jihad, and his wider relevance is low.