None of the seven terror plots foiled in the UK over the past year was directed from Syria, senior MPs have been told by security and intelligence sources.
Despite David Cameron’s claim that the plots were ‘linked to’ or ‘inspired by’ ISIL, MPs have ascertained there is no evidence that any of them were actually coordinated by the Islamists’ command and control centre in Raqqa.
The admission is a serious challenge to the case for RAF bombing in Syria as it counters the hints from some Tory – and Labour – MPs that ISIL in Syria had to be targeted with airstrikes because it poses a ‘direct’ threat to the UK.
HuffPost UK has been told that in the run up to the Syria vote in the Commons, senior Shadow Cabinet ministers and senior MPs in other parties asked detailed questions about the nature of the threat posed by ISIL.
When pressed, senior intelligence officials representing the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) said that the seven foiled British terror plots over the past 12 months were either ‘lone wolf’ types, from individuals radicalised or ‘inspired by’ Islamist propaganda, or ‘linked’ to ISIL in other ways.
MP were further briefed that there was some suggestion that the Paris attacks may have been directed from Syria, although the intelligence was far from firm.
But there was no evidence of any of the potential UK attacks being directed in a similar way, even though the nature of the threat could change at some point in the future.
Some MPs were persuaded to vote for bombing in Syria after being briefed confidentially by the PM’s National Security Adviser Sir Mark Lyall Grant and other officials.