Islamic extremists who have attended terror training camps in Somalia are returning to Britain, leaving the country’s security and intelligence services quite worried over the possibility of them launching attacks.
The head of MI5, Jonathan Evans, and the outgoing head of the CIA, Michael Hayden, are on record as saying that the threat is grave, especially in the wake of Ethiopia’s invasion of Somalia in late 2006, which "catalyzed" expatriate Somalis around the world.
In investigation for Channel 4 News, to be broadcast tonight, reveals that a suicide bomber who grew up in Ealing is thought to have blown himself up in an attack in Somalia that killed more than 20 soldiers.
The incident is the first reported case involving a Somali based in Britain and will add to pressure on Scotland Yard and the Home Office to tackle the problem within the Somali community, which, at about 250,000 people, is the biggest in Europe.
The Times quotes Peter Neumann, a terrorism expert who runs the Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King’s College London, as telling Channel 4 News: "The numbers I hear [going from Britain to Somalia] are 50, 60 or 70, but in reality we don’t know. You don’t need big numbers for terrorism. Somalia will never become another Pakistan, but that does not mean it is not a threat."
Most Somalis in Britain entered the country as asylum-seekers within the past 20 years. They include Yasin Omar and Ramzi Mohammed, two of the four men convicted of the botched bombing of the London Underground on July 21, 2005.
Some Somali leaders say their community – already associated with gang and knife crime – is being unfairly targeted.