Did the al-Qaeda flags in Libya, Tunisia, Syria, Egypt etc. give it away?
(Reuters) — Al Qaeda militants are using the countries which toppled their leaders in the Arab Spring as bases to train radical Western youths for potential attacks on Britain, the chief of the MI5 Security Service said on Monday.
In his first public speech for nearly two years, Security Service Director General Jonathan Evans said the Arab Spring revolts in Tunisia, Libya, Yemen and Egypt offered long-term hope of a more democratic Middle East.
But Britain’s domestic spy chief said al Qaeda, which moved to Afghanistan from Arab countries in the 1990s and thence to Pakistan after the fall of the Taliban, was once again trying to gain a foothold in the Arab world.
“Today parts of the Arab world have once more become a permissive environment for al Qaeda,” Evans said, according to an advance text of a rare speech in London outlining the key threats to British interests.
“A small number of British would-be jihadis are also making their way to Arab countries to seek training and opportunities for militant activity, as they do in Somalia and Yemen. Some will return to the UK and pose a threat here.”