Islamic State Christmas Terror Warning
MI6 Spy Warns Islamic State Preparing Terrorist Attacks Across Europe
A former MI6 operative has warned that the Islamic State is plotting Christmas terror attacks across Eusropes in revenge for the republication of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed by the French satirical Charlie Hebdo.
Aimen Dean (a pseudonym) has claimed that plots are being hatched in jihadi-held areas of northern Syria and Libya to terrorise Europe this Christmas season.
Dean spent eight years spying on al-Qaeda before his cover was blown by a US intelligence leak.
He told a security conference in London – the International Security Expo – that Abu Omar al-Shishani, an ISIS commander thought to have survived a 2016 US strike, is planning to send terrorists to the West via Turkey and across the Mediterranean from North Africa.
They will then carry out a series of terrorist attacks in Britain, France and Germany as their governments lift coronavirus restrictions ahead of Christmas, according to Dean.
Severe Terror Threat
Home Secretary Priti Patel moved Britain to its second-highest terror threat level of ‘severe’ after a series of horrifying attacks in France and Austria, where an Isis sympathiser killed four people during a gun rampage in Vienna.
According to MI5, SEVERE “means an attack is highly likely”.
In France, schoolteacher Samuel Paty was beheaded in October for showing a classroom Mohammed cartoons in a lesson on free speech. Three Christians were killed in a mass stabbing by a Tunisian migrant in Nice just two weeks later.
The French government moved against Islamic extremism by closing nearly 80 mosques accused of Islamic separatism and expelling 66 illegal immigrants suspected of radicalisation from the country.
Wave of Terror is Coming
Speaking at the International Security Expo, Dean said:
“The worry is that, according to people who know him, [Shishani] is planning to avenge the Prophet Mohammed cartoons in places like Germany, UK, France and all around Christmas time. We need to be worried about the wave of terror that is coming from northern Syria and Libya for Christmas this year.”
Dean also added:
“This promise of no lockdown at Christmas has made it a more attractive timeframe for targeting. Already they have been thinking about it, already they have been looking at it and I feel this will be the next target.”
The former al-Qaeda terrorist claimed that Shishani is planning to infiltrate violent extremists from the remaining outposts of ISIS following the republication of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed by the French satirical Charlie Hebdo.
The Former MI6 Spy: Aimen Dean
A native of Saudi Arabia, Aimen Dean had a strict Islamic upbringing that sowed the seeds of violent extremism.
Dean’s terrorist career began in 1994 when he left Saudi Arabia to join jihadist fighters in Bosnia, before continuing on to other fronts in Afghanistan, the Caucasus, and Philippines. Dean joined al-Qaeda in 1997 and became part of its bomb making and WMD development efforts.
However, Dean was deeply affected by al-Qaeda’s 1998 terror attack on two US embassies in East Africa. After what he describes as long soul-searching, he secretly defected to the British government and worked undercover for eight years passing information on al-Qaeda’s networks and plots to the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6.
His cover was compromised by a book published in the USA in 2006. Forced to leave undercover work, he become a consultant for a global bank on Financial Crime/Counter Terror Finance, offering insights on terrorism, terror financing, and Middle Eastern current affairs.
Aimen Dean is now the Managing Director of Amal Global, a company based in Ireland that conducts in-depth Middle East political, defence and terror analysis as well as terror financing research for international financial institutions and governments.
You can find out more about Aimen Dean in his autobiography, Nine Lives: My Time As MI6’s Top Spy Inside al-Qaeda.
MI5: “Islamic Terrorism Our Largest Threat”
In October, Ken McCallum made his first address as the new Director General of MI5. Highlighting the threat from Islamic terrorism, he said:
“Islamist extremist terrorism, which by volume remains our largest threat. It is still the case that tens of thousands of individuals are committed to this ideology – and we must continually scan for the smaller numbers within that large group who at any given moment might be mobilising towards attacks.”
Lack of effective immigration policies across Europe have allowed a flood of violent extremists to enter and take root, finding support in separatist communities. McCallum admitted that countering Islamic terrorism was a difficult challenge:
“That task has become sharper in recent years, as more terrorists have gone for basic attack methods requiring little preparation, meaning there are fewer clues for us to detect in advance – and less time to find those clues.”
Sources: International Security Expo; MI5.
Image: This undated image posted on Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014 by the Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State group, a Syrian opposition group, shows a fighter from the Islamic State group, armed with a knife and an automatic weapon, next to captured Syrian army soldiers and officers, following the battle for the Tabqa air base, in Raqqa, Syria. A U.N. commission on Wednesday accused the extremist Islamic State organization of committing crimes against humanity with attacks on civilians, as pictures emerged of the extremists’ bloody takeover of a Syrian military air base that added to the international organization’s claims.
Further Reading: Aimen Dean, Nine Lives: My Time As MI6’s Top Spy Inside al-Qaeda.