Muslims radicalised in British prisons are new danger: study
Hundreds of Muslims radicalised in British prisons could launch a "new wave" of homegrown terrorism against the country with lone attacks that are difficult to prevent, experts warned Friday.
Some 800 "potentially violent radicals" might emerge from the prison system in coming years after being successfully targeted by jihadists in high-security institutions, said a report from the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).
The highly-motivated but poorly-trained individuals would be sent out to try their luck, as terrorists shift their focus from mounting large-scale, coordinated attacks, said the journal of the defence and security think-tank.
It added that Britain had the greatest to fear from homegrown terrorism of any country in the West and conditions were such that terrorists could strike at any time.
"Jihadist radicalisation is believed by the prison authorities to be taking place at a rapid rate," said the report, entitled "Terrorism: The New Wave".
"Perhaps some 800 potentially violent radicals, not previously guilty on terrorism charges, will be back in society over the coming five to ten years," it added.
Prison chiefs believe that one in 10 Muslim inmates in high-security institutions will be radicalised, it said.
The shift towards the new style of attack is being driven by the emergence of new Al-Qaeda leaders, such as the US-Yemeni cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki, who are seeking ways to make terror plots harder for security services to trace, said the study.
Awlaki has been accused of inspiring recent attacks, such as the shooting attack at Fort Hood military base, and the failed Christmas Day attack on a US airliner.
The new breed of terrorists targeting Britain would "receive little training and few resources, increasing the difficulty for the police and intelligence services in tracking and intercepting them," said RUSI.
Although this would make success considerably less likely, "the reasoning behind their deployment rests with the logic that eventually one of them will be lucky enough to succeed in a major way'", it added.
The report concluded that in Britain, "the conditions are all there for a series of attacks that could begin at any time."
Suicide bombings on three London Underground trains and a bus on July 7, 2005, left 52 innocent people dead.
In the years since, Britain has been the target of a series of attempted attacks and there have been a string of convictions for terrorism offences.
© 2010 AFP