Monday, August 14, 2006

Suspected UK terrorists training in national parks.

UK: The people who live near these spots are not that curious.

Suspected terrorists have mounted training exercises in some of the most popular areas of the national parks of England and Wales, the Guardian has learned. Undercover detectives have watched groups of up to 20 men, some with known terrorist connections, taking part in outdoor training in the Lake District and elsewhere. The exercises have gone on sporadically for several years, but some training camps are understood to have been run in the past 12 months. None is believed to be related to last week's arrests for an alleged plot to blow up planes leaving Heathrow, but security sources told the Guardian that the use of training camps in remote areas of the UK was typical of terrorists seeking to build cells in this country. The disclosures came as the home secretary, John Reid, announced early this morning that the threat to the UK posed by terrorism had been downgraded from critical to severe. A statement from the Home Office said: "This means that a terrorist attack is still highly likely. But the intelligence assessment suggests that an attack is no longer imminent." The change was made by the Joint Terrorism and Analysis Centre, the statement said. ....The revelation of the camps is likely to raise anxiety about the number of potential terrorists in the UK, though laws introduced in April allow prosecutors to seek a life sentence for anyone convicted of the offence. Surveillance teams watching the groups in the Lake District are thought to have gathered evidence to pass on to crown prosecutors. The Guardian knows the precise location of the camps where the group has been monitored in the Lake District, but cannot disclose it. The group, unaware it has been under surveillance, was not undergoing weapons or explosives training. However, police believe they have clear evidence the men were preparing a mission of some sort, not enjoying a camping holiday. The surveillance is thought to have been by detectives from Scotland Yard's antiterrorism branch; security sources in London confirmed they were aware of it. The farmer whose land was used, and who knew nothing of the men's intentions, declined to comment, while other locals said they were completely unaware of the training mission. "Frankly, I would have thought they would have stood out," said one local resident.
Groups up to 20 men doing activities other than camping would seem to be a warning to the owner.

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