Far-right terror attack ‘an increased possibility’

By Liz Stephens

Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism command fears the economic downturn could lead to an increased likelihood of an attack by the extreme right.

Senior officers fear an attack designed to stoke racial tensions and the counter-terrorism unit is monitoring the situation closely.

Commander Shaun Sawyer told a meeting of British Muslims that Met commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson had asked the counter-terrorism unit to examine what the economic downturn would mean for far-right violence.

The assessment concluded that it would increase the possibility.

Such an attack would not be without precedent – ten years ago, David Copeland bombed three targets in London in a fortnight.

One strike killed three people at the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho.

Recently, British Muslims have been a particular target of neo-Nazi propaganda from groups such as Combat 18 and Muslim community groups say there has been a fear of increased vulnerability to attack since the 7/7 bombings.

The Community Security Trust (CST) which monitors the threat to Britain’s Jewish community by the far right, says neo-Nazi violence towards Jewish targets has also increased in the past few years.

Last year Martyn Gilleard, a neo-Nazi from Goole was convicted of three terrorism offences and jailed for 16 years.

Gerry Gable, of anti-fascism group Searchlight, praised police efforts to tackle neo-Nazi terrorism but warned the threat remained.

“They believe that violence begets violence. They hope it will cause a backlash”, he said.

Similar warnings about the terror threat from the far right have been issued in America recently.

However, the terrorist threat posed by al-Qaida remains Scotland Yard’s priority.