ISIS is plotting a new wave of terrorist attacks across the UK by using “crocodile cells” consisting of sleeper agents hiding in plain sight in western Europe, an expert has warned.
The alert comes after it was revealed that Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed, one of the ring-leaders of the Sri Lanka church bombings, which resulted in the deaths of more than 250 churchgoers on Easter Sunday, was studying at Kingston University in south-east London between 2006 and 2007.
During this time a hate preacher with links to the death of Private Lee Rigby gave a speech encouraging Jihad. MI5 is urging churches and mosques in Britain to have counter-terrorism training amid concerns of more Islamic terror attacks and revenge plots instigated by far-right groups.
Charlie Winter, of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King’s College London, told MailOnline:
“Now that Isis has been defeated in Syria and Iraq, it will become more violent outside this area.
“It’s a grim outlook, but we are likely to see more attempts at attacks, more regularly, for the foreseeable future.
“Sri Lanka was not a one-off. If anything, it was a test run.”
Mohamed, 36, blew himself up at the Tropical Inn in Colombo on Easter Sunday.
Intelligence services believe Mohamed failed to detonate his bomb at a five-star hotel and may have done so by accident at a much smaller one.
UK counter-terrorism investigators are trying to establish links with extremist organisations during his time in Britain.
At the time, Mohamed had been enrolled on an aerospace engineering degree at the Asian Aviation Centre in Sri Lanka, during which students spend their third and final year at Kingston University.
He is also known to have returned to Britain in 2008.
Mustafa Bali, head of the Syria Defence Force media office, hailed the “total elimination of the so-called caliphate” of ISIS last month.
He wrote, using the Arabic acronym Daesh for ISIS,:
”Baghouz has been liberated. The military victory against Daesh has been accomplished.”
Prior to this, in December, on the same day he announced US troops would be pulling out of Syria US President Donald Trump tweeted: “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.”
Michael Kenney, an associate professor of international affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, later told Express.co.uk:
“No counter-terrorism expert believes that – this is just Trumpian rhetoric aimed at firing up his base which few are going to agree with.”