Former UK Police Chief: Islamist Terror Threat Will Persist For ’20 To 30 Years’

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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Islamist terrorism will continue to be a threat for the United Kingdom for the next “20 to 30 years,” the former head of Britain’s counter-intelligence and security service MI5 said Friday.

Jonathan Evans, who left his role as director general of MI5 in 2013, described the threat from jihadis as a “generational problem” that will persist for decades in an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today show.

“There’s no doubt that we are still facing a severe terrorist threat but I think it’s also important to put this in a slightly longer context because right the way back from the 1990s we have been experiencing difficulties from Islamist terrorists of one sort or another,” Evans said. “Over that period the threat has come and gone but the underlying threat has continued.”

Authorities have recorded 19 foiled attacks since Evans left the agency. During 2017 alone, three major attacks — two in London and one in Manchester — have rocked the country. Another six attacks have been stopped since five people were killed in the Westminster area March 22 in London.

“Since 2013 there have been 19 attempted attacks that have been disrupted and even since the attack at Westminster we are told there have been six disruptions, so this is a permanent state of preparedness,” Evans said. “I think this is genuinely a generational problem. I think we are going to be facing 20 to 30 years of terrorist threat and therefore we need, absolutely critically, to persevere.”

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