The UK’s domestic security service (the local FBI) needed some good news after an independent report published yesterday concluded that MI5 could have prevented the terrorist attack which killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester in May.
The report by David Anderson QC, who previously reviewed UK terrorist legislation for the government, reviewed the internal reports by MI5 and the police regarding the Manchester terror attack and three others since March 2017, which led to the deaths of 36 people. Anderson stopped short of blaming MI5, but criticised the organisation for “wrongly” interpreting intelligence on the bomber, Salman Abedi. He also criticised the way MI5 works with the UK police force and the way they share intelligence.
However, as saving grace, just a few hours after the report was published, it emerged that MI5 and the police successfully foiled a plot to assassinate UK Prime Minister, Theresa May. Two men were delivered to Westminster Magistrates Court in central London this morning. 20-year-old Naa'imur Zakariyah Rahman was accused of orchestrating the plot to kill the Prime Minister in a bomb and knife attack on Downing Street.
20-year-old Naa'imur Zakariyah Rahman has been remanded in custody accused of a plot to kill Prime Minister Theresa May in a bomb and knife attack on Downing Street— Sky News Newsdesk (@SkyNewsBreak) December 6, 2017
More from BBC.
A man is due to appear in court later over an alleged plot to kill the prime minister, Theresa May. The BBC understands Naa'imur Zakariyah Rahman, 20, from north London, is accused of planning to bomb Downing Street security gates and then attack the PM with a knife.
A second man, Mohammed Aqib Imran, 21, of Birmingham, is accused of the preparation of terrorist acts for allegedly planning to travel overseas. They were both arrested on 28 November.
Andrew Parker, the director-general of MI5, attended a meeting of the UK Cabinet on Tuesday in which he briefed minister on the plot. He also provided details of a further nine terrorist plots which the UK intelligence services had prevented during the past twelve months. However, there is much work to be done on preventing future terrorist attacks. The MI5 and police investigations themselves listed 126 different recommendations for improving anti-terror measures.
The photo below shows the gates to Downing Street which Rahman was planning to blow-up before killing Theresa May. Not that many years ago, there were no gates and you could have your photo taken standing next to the policeman outside the Prime Minister’s residence.
As SkyNews notes, prime ministers have long been terrorist targets, though Downing Street is now well protected by fortified gates and armed police officers. Security measures were introduced in the 1970s but were increased in the 1980s as the threat from Irish republican groups grew. In 1991 the IRA launched a home-made mortar bomb attack on Number 10. The device landed in the back garden. The then prime minister, John Major, was inside but was not hurt. The IRA had previously targeted prime minister Margaret Thatcher at the Conservative conference in Brighton in 1984. Thatcher narrowly avoided injury but five people were killed - including a Conservative MP.