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Thursday, September 29, 2005 

More scaremongering from London anti-terrorist police.

The police officer in overall charge of London's anti-terrorist operation has told the Guardian that Scotland Yard is tracking a number of potential terrorist suspects who may be planning further attacks.

In his first full interview since the July 7 atrocities, Assistant Commissioner Andy Hayman said none of the individuals was linked to the blasts on July 7, or the attempted bombings two weeks later.

No master plot had been discovered, but Mr Hayman said that the force, and Londoners, would have to accept that the city was now a prime target. He anticipated other terrorist cells, which may well be British, would launch attacks.

"I don't want to scaremonger but it has to be said, when you look around the world and at the prominence of London, that the threat is real," said Mr Hayman. He said detectives were actively pursuing "other lines of investigation".

"We always remain active in covert operations. We have a number of people who are of interest."

He added: "London is an iconic site as a location for another terrorist attack. We have to be vigilant but you can't predict where or how or when they will try."

Yes, London is obviously an iconic site to attack. But let's remember one thing: none of the countries hit by "al-Qaida" since 9/11 have been hit again. America hasn't (directly). Spain hasn't. Bali hasn't. Istanbul hasn't. Tunisia hasn't. Morroco hasn't. Iraq and Afghanistan don't count for obvious reasons. You can argue against Chechnya also, but I'd describe that as an internal conflict with Russia rather than a international terrorist beacon. The London attempted bombings of the 21st were most likely done by incompetents or copycats, and it's also doubtful whether the 7th bombers had any link with "al-Qaida".

So who is likely to be targeted next? My guess is countries in the coalition of the willing that have up to yet emerged unscathed. Australia has not been hit directly, despite the Bali and Indonesia bombings. Italy has not been touched. Japan is another possible target, as is Israel, which has not had an al-Qaida spectacular, maybe only because Hamas and Islamic Jihad are just as capable. Poland is also another target, being the main member of "new Europe." This is not to say that other countries have no threat level, I'm sure they have. France's ban on the hijab in public institutions could be used as an excuse. I would find attacks on the above much more likely than further attempts on countries already hit, although the United States is undoubtedly the main target for Islamic fundamentalists everywhere.

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