‘Unprecedented’ spike in terror threats amid Israel-Hamas war, top UK terrorism official says

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The terrorism threat in the United Kingdom is at an “unprecedented” level following the start of the war between Israel and Hamas last October, a top U.K. counter-terrorism official said on Friday. 

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Matt Jukes said there’s been a 25% rise in terror information coming to police in the country since the war began, adding, “it’s hard to remember a more unstable, dangerous and uncertain world,” according to Sky News.

Jukes added that the Israel-Hamas war has created a new “radicalization moment” for Islamist extremists egged on my “extraordinary amounts” of online content and misinformation, according to BBC News. 

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An Israeli airstrike in Gaza

The war in Gaza began on Oct. 7 after Hamas launched an unprovoked attack on Israel.  (Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images)

“All of that online material is part of a dangerous climate,” Jukes said, which created a “radicalization moment, with the potential to push people towards terrorism.”

In the U.K., there have been 33 terrorism-related arrests connected to the war in Gaza so far, the BBC reported, adding that police didn’t confirm if any terrorist plots had been stopped. 

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“This is not simply rhetoric,” he continued. “In my seat, you tend to look at dashboards of indicators and there are particular indicators that we will be focused on. And right now, there are needles on that dashboard that are moving in the wrong direction.”

Jukes added that the U.K. faces the worst threats from “hostile state actors” since the Cold War. 

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“I don’t want to be coy. We are talking about parts of the state apparatus of Iran, China and Russia,” he told reporters. The Metropolitan police said Friday it had added another unit to its department centered on countering threats from those three countries. 

Reuters contributed to this report. 

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