Scotland Yard has warned about a Mumbai-type terror attack in London targeting business hubs in the international city.
"Mumbai is coming to London," said senior detective from 'SO15' (the Metropolitan police counter-terrorism command) during a briefing in London. He warned that the big business houses having their base in major locations of the city may be targeted in a shooting and hostage-taking raid 'involving a small number of gunmen with handguns and improvised explosive devices', similar to that what happened in Mumbai in November 2008, when 10 armed gunmen stormed India's financial capital and killed 174 people and wounded over 300 in a brazen strike spread over three days.
The warning, probably the bluntest issued by police, has underlined an assessment that a terrorist cell may be preparing an attack on London early next year, The Times reports. "Before, there has been speculation. Now we are getting what appears to be a definite plot to carry out a firearms attack on London," the official said. It is pertinent to mention here that earlier this year, police, military and intelligence services held a combined exercise in Kent to judge their capability in case of a terror raid on the city of London, but the results were not so encouraging. "The exercise brought out to those taking part that the capability doesn't exist to deal with that situation should it arise," the newspaper quoted military sources, as saying.
Fears are that attackers could use automatic weapons to strike places such as nightclubs, sporting venues and Jewish centres. Security officials are also alarmed by issues being discussed on a prominent jihadist website in recent days. According to intercepts of a discussion hosted earlier this month on the said 'jihadi' chat room, a contributor invited suggestions for carrying out 'guerrilla warfare' and proposed "a group of mujaheddin raid police stations and fire at them". "Make sure that all those at the location are of age, that there are no children and so on. Insist on the locations and times where no Muslims or children are to be expected," one of the contributor said during the discussions. "If machine guns are available, and explosive and expertise for (explosives) are not available, this is a good way ... The (Mumbai) operation is the ideal scenario for operations you are talking about," added another.