British Jihad Update by Vikram Dodd in The Guardian, with thanks to Mackie:
British intelligence officials believe that al-Qaida is determined to attack the UK with a nuclear weapon, it emerged yesterday. The announcement, from an officially organised Foreign Office counter-terrorism briefing for the media, was the latest in a series of bleak assessments by senior officials and ministers about the terrorist threat facing Britain.
UK officials have detected “an awful lot of chatter” on jihadi websites expressing the desire to acquire chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear weapons.
Asked whether there was any doubt that al-Qaida was trying to gain the technology to attack the west, including the UK, with a nuclear weapon, a senior Foreign Office counter-terrorism official said: “No doubt at all.”
The official explained: “We know the aspiration is there, we know the attempt to get material is there, we know the attempt to get technology is there.”
The warning comes after a speech last week by the foreign secretary, Margaret Beckett, on the terrorist threat facing the UK, and a rare public outing for Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, the head of MI5, who warned that there were at least 30 active plots to attack Britain.