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'Islamist' plot to assassinate British Prime Minister thwarted by MI5

Prime Minister Theresa May says Britain needs to establish "a new culture of respect at the centre of our public life" after a slew of sex abuse scandals involving prominent politicians
Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (AFP)
Plotters planned to blow up security barriers outside Downing Street and then stab the British PM

Two men have been charged with an alleged plot to assassinate British Prime Minister Theresa May and a court hearing on the case is expected on Wednesday, British media reported.

Naa'imur Zakariyah Rahman, 20, from London, and Mohammed Aqib Imran, 21, from Birmingham, planned to blow up security barriers outside May's Downing Street office and then stab the British leader to death, the reports said.

“It is in essence an extreme Islamist suicide plot against Downing Street,” said Sky News Crime Correspondent Martin Brunt, “essentially police believe that the plan was to launch some improvised explosive device at Downing Street and in the ensuing chaos attack and kill Theresa May.”

The reports came a day after Home Secretary Amber Rudd told parliament that 22 Islamist terror plots had been thwarted since the killing of a British soldier on a London street by two Islamist extremists in 2013.

NIKLAS HALLE'N (AFP/File)

Nine of the plots have been uncovered following an attack outside the British parliament in March in which five people were killed, Rudd said.

"The UK is facing an intense threat from terrorism, one which is multi-dimensional, evolving rapidly and operating at a scale and pace we have not seen before," London's Metropolitan Police said on Tuesday.

The police said there were now 500 counter-terrorism investigations involving 3,000 people and more than 20,000 other people have been investigated in the past.

Britain has seen five terror attacks this year, which killed 36 people and injured more than 200 others. Four of them were claimed by the Islamic State group.

The Westminster attack in March was the first of string of 2017 incidents that led to Britain’s official terrorist threat level being raised to severe. Khalid Masood drove a car into pedestrians on Westminster bridge which was followed by the stabbing of a policeman outside Parliament, killing 5.

CHRIS J RATCLIFFE (AFP)

In Manchester in May, 22 people were killed when a suicide bomber attacked Ariana Grande fans at a concert. In June, 11 people were killed when terrorists mowed down pedestrians and attacked them with knives close to London Bridge. A man also died at mosque in Finsbury Park, London following another vehicle incident.

Three of the perpetrators of May’s assassination plot were known to security services, according to an internal review by M15 which said opportunities to stop the Manchester Arena bombing attack were missed by security services due to a misreading of information.

The two men are due to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on terror charges on Wednesday morning.

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