U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May defended the government’s ability to exclude terrorists who have traveled abroad from returning home, in a Tuesday interview with ITV.
May’s defense of the 2015 law follows a London terrorist attack that killed seven and wounded 48 and an earlier attack on Manchester that killed 22. Both attacks marked some of the worst terrorist incidents in nearly a decade. British authorities reportedly have nearly 3,000 suspects they consider major terrorist threats at any one time and are overwhelmed by surveillance requirements.
The legislation allows British authorities to stop terrorists from returning home for a period of up to two years. U.K. Home Secretary Amber Rudd revealed in late May that the government had only used the broad powers once since the law’s passage.
ITV asked May why British authorities did not use the exclusion orders more often.
“The point about the temporary exclusion order is that it is an additional power for our police to use when they believe it is operationally right to do so,” May said of the government’s ability to exclude U.K. citizens who are known terrorists. May elaborated that some jihadi’s who’ve returned are only allowed to do so because they can then be prosecuted.
The exclusion law highlights the enduring danger of European jihadi’s trying to return home as ISIS’s territory shrinks in Iraq and Syria.
U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis proffered the American approach in a late May CBS News interview saying “Our intention is that the foreign fighters do not survive the fight to return home to North Africa, to Europe, to America, to Asia, to Africa. We’re not going to allow them to do so. We’re going to stop them there and take apart the caliphate.”
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