Britain is facing a “serious and sustained threat” of terror attacks at home and abroad, MI5 chief Eliza Manningham-Buller warned today.
Despite the arrest and killing of many senior al-Qaida leaders, the organisation behind September 11 can still mount attacks, she said.
And Osama bin Laden’s group has “inspired” other fanatics, Ms Manningham-Buller said today.
“There is a serious and sustained threat of terrorist attacks against UK interests at home and abroad, including against the business community,” she said.
“There might be major attacks like Madrid earlier this year. They might be on a smaller scale. The terrorists are inventive, adaptable and patient. Their planning includes a wide range of methods to attack us.
“Many senior al-Qaida figures have been killed or arrested since 9/11 but, although the organisation has been damaged, it retains the capability to mount terrorist attacks on Western interests.
“Moreover, the international terrorist threat that manifests itself in other forms which are as challenging.
“Al-Qaida has become shorthand for other terrorist groups or networks that, inspired by al-Qaida’s successes, and in imitation of it, are now planning attacks against Western interests.”