MI5 faces being overrun by dangerous Islamist radicals within two years when Britain’s streets are hit by a perfect storm, an alarming report has found.
Many extremists who are currently in jail across Europe for supporting and fighting for Daesh will be released between 2019 and 2023.
At the same time, the number of British jihadis returning home from Syria and Iraq will spiral as the terror movement is finally squeezed out of its remaining homelands.
On their return, jihadis are predicted to mushroom the threat again by going on to radicalise existing but currently non-violent Islamist networks here.
The disturbing analysis comes from Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre and IHS Markit.
Under the most recent Home Office statistics, 164 people are serving prison terms for terrorism-related offences, with a further 49 on remand awaiting trial – a new high.
More than three quarters of terror offenders locked up from 2011 were jailed for less than 10 years, leaving many due for release imminently.
Only a tenth were given sentences of 10-20 years, and 15 per cent got life.
Britain is particularly at risk from jihadis, Jane’s also found, having the highest number of returned militants in Europe.
Of the 850 UK residents who joined Daesh’s ranks since 2011, half have now come home.
Around 100 were killed out there, and the rest are unaccounted for.
Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre found: “Security services will struggle to adequately monitor a combination of returning militants, an increased number of radical Islamist networks involved, and the radicalization risks associated with a substantially increasing Islamist prison population”.
The think tank also predicts extremists will move on more basic knife and vehicle attacks as their levels of expertise develops.
Daesh networks will develop more destructive methods to launch mayhem, including the use of car bombs and drones.
The report’s author Otso Iho added: “Harsh sentencing practices in host countries do not necessarily appear to be a significant disincentive for foreign fighters returning from Iraq and Syria.
“For those returnees planning on engaging in violence, the symbolic target value of Western European countries perhaps outweighs the higher likelihood of being apprehended and imprisoned.”
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