The director general of MI5, Ken McCallum, has stated that intelligence officers are closely monitoring the growing risk of attacks within the UK following recent events in the Middle East. In an interview with Sky News, McCallum emphasized that events in the Middle East often have repercussions in Europe and the UK, and his teams are fully aware of the possibility of attacks in the UK as a result.
During the interview, McCallum also discussed the following points regarding the Israel-Hamas war and global security:
– There is heightened concern regarding multiple threats, including far-right antisemitism, Islamophobia, Islamist extremism, and state-level aggression from China, Russia, and Iran.
– The national threat level, currently set at “substantial,” is constantly reviewed to ensure its appropriateness.
– The world is currently in a state of uncertainty.
McCallum made these remarks at a gathering of domestic intelligence agency leaders from the UK, United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand in California. While the meeting primarily focused on the threat of emerging technologies, the Middle East crisis remained a significant topic of discussion.
When asked about the threat level in the UK, McCallum stated that it is currently set at “substantial,” meaning that an attack is likely. However, he noted that the analysts within the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) continuously assess whether this level remains appropriate. If the evidence justifies an increase in the threat level, the analysts will recommend it.
McCallum also expressed his concerns about the risks posed by Iran, stating that it has been a rising source of concern for MI5 in recent months. He acknowledged the possibility that events in the Middle East may prompt Iran to adopt new approaches, but he refrained from speculating on the matter. McCallum emphasized that MI5 is already dealing with a sustained level of hostile activity in the UK instigated by the Iranian state.
In conclusion, McCallum highlighted the range of threats MI5 faces, including terrorism inspired by Islamist extremist ideologies, right-wing terrorism, terrorism in Northern Ireland, and increasing aggression from Russia, China, and Iran. He emphasized that the world is currently in a state of great uncertainty.