UK: Terrorism threat level raised to 'severe'

UK: Terrorism threat level raised to 'severe'

The United Kingdom’s terrorism threat level had been upgraded from “substantial” to “severe” following recent terror attacks in France and Austria.

The decision follows Monday night’s attack in Vienna, Austria in which four people were killed. Last week, three people were also killed after a knife attack in Nice, France, and another attack took place last month in which teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded for discussing images of the prophet Muhammad with his pupils.

Priti Patel, the UK’s home secretary has described the decision as a “precautionary measure following the terrible incidents we've seen in France last week and the events we saw in Austria last night.”

"The British public should be alert but not alarmed," Ms. Patel stated, confirming that there will be "more visible policing across the country".

She added: "That is right in light of the threat going up, but as I've said, the public should not be alarmed - this is a precautionary measure."

Patel urged the public to report any suspicions to the police.

The decision to increase the threat level was made by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) based in London, formed with terror experts from the government, police and security agencies.

The terror threat level has remained at “substantial” since November last year, lowered from “severe,” as it had been for the previous five years.

“Severe” is the second-highest level, with “critical” remaining above it, which had previously been reached in May 2017 when the Manchester Arena bombing took place, where 22 victims were killed.

Following the attack in Vienna, Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated that he was “deeply shocked,” tweeting, “I am deeply shocked by the terrible attacks in Vienna tonight. The UK’s thoughts are with the people of Austria - we stand united with you against terror.”