Source Pravda.Ru

Potential terrorists under watch by MI5, official says

Hundreds of terror suspects are under close surveillance by MI5, the Security Service, with secret intelligence still unable to help pinpoint the precise nature of the terrorist threat facing Britain, according to Charles Clarke the Home Secretary.

The home secretary gave MPs the broad estimate - similar to the one given by Tony Blair in February - as he was questioned by the cross-party Commons home affairs committee about the security measures the government was taking in the aftermath of the London bombings.

He told MPs yesterday: "There are certainly hundreds of individuals we have been watching very closely and continue to watch extremely closely."

While the statement suggested that MI5 and police could be examining new information, Mr Clarke was unable to reassure MPs that a breakthrough in the London bombings investigation was imminent. "We don't have knowledge of a specific threat . . . We have intelligence but we don't have knowledge," he said.

While the "foreign link" to the bombings was important enough to continue to be the subject of investigation, the extent to which any wider terrorist organisation had been behind the London bombings remained unclear.

Mr Clarke identified Pakistan as an area that continued to be of potential interest because of the links to it of some of the bombers. But he appeared to play down suggestions that the video message left by one of the suicide bombers, Mohamad Sidique Khan, had established a clear logistical link with al-Qaeda, reports Financial Times.

On July 7, 52 people and four terrorists died when explosives were detonated on three Tube trains and a bus.

Members of the de Menezes family were in the Commons committee room to hear Sir Ian repeat his apology over the killing of the 27-year-old electrician at Stockwell Underground station.

But he defended what he called a "shoot to protect" policy, which remained in place despite some minor "administrative changes" made as a result of the review.

Sir Ian acknowledged that the policy that had been devised out of the public gaze should now be more widely debated. But he was adamant that it was the correct way to proceed.

"There is no question that a suicide bomber, deadly and determined, who is intent on murder, is perhaps the highest level of threat that we face and we must have an option to deal with it," Sir Ian said.

He also conceded that he initially tried to stop the Independent Police Complaints Commission investigating the death because at the time it was thought Mr de Menezes was a suicide bomber and there was a risk of compromising an ongoing anti-terror investigation.

After the hearing, Mr de Menezes's cousins, Alessandro Pereira, 25, Vivian Figueiredo, 22, and Patricia da Silva Armani, 31, called for the shoot-to-kill policy to be suspended.

"We are horrified to know that the shoot-to-kill policy is still in operation today," they said, informs Telegraph.

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