Images left on the cell phone of the mastermind behind the devastating Paris terror attack suggest that his next targets may have been the United Kingdom.
After Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the jihadist who coordinated the November 13 attacks, was killed following a police stand-off last month, authorities discovered photos of UK landmarks, according to The Express.
Abdelhamid Abaaoud, posing with the Quran, and Villa Park, a possible target
Source: The Express[/caption]
Although Abated was under an international arrest warrant due to his role in four previous failed terrorist plots, authorities say he may have taken some of them himself.
The Express reported:
The photos are said to show unspecified but well-known locations in Birmingham, possibly including football arenas Villa Park and St Andrews, where tens of thousands of fans gather every weekend.
Other possible targets in the area include the National Exhibition Centre and Edgbaston Cricket Ground, where the English cricket team and Warwickshire County Cricket Club play matches.
Because Abated was apparently able to travel throughout Europe and even to and from Syria with ease despite the international arrest warrant against him, questions are now being asked about the effectiveness of policing and terror screening in Europe.
“A great deal of discussion has gone on at a European level in tightening up intelligence-sharing,” an unnamed source said, according to The Express.
“There remains a series of questions over how effective it is, and in light of what is happening in Europe now, it needs to be tightened up further. You are quite right in asking how someone who was at the heart of a terrorist investigation was able to move as relatively easily as he did.”
West Midlands Police released a statement Friday in response to the perceived Birmingham threat.
“The current security state across the country is at its second highest level – SEVERE – meaning a terrorist attack is highly likely,” the statement said.
“We are working tirelessly around the clock with the business community and other partners to keep you safe and secure. Despite these unhelpful rumors currently circulating, we continue to ask people to remain alert but not alarmed.”
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