On Saturday, the Queen of England and the Royal Family will be leading the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, known as Victory in Japan Day or more simply, VJ Day. But according to reports, Saturday’s celebrations come with a looming threat of terrorism, with the Queen as the central target.
The Guardian reported Sunday that specific threats have been made against the Queen. The article cited a Mail on Sunday report that named ISIS operatives in Syria as the chief orchestrators of the terror plot. And while Metropolitan police have encouraged the public to proceed with their celebratory plans this weekend, the threat against the Queen and other Royal Family members, including Prince Charles, is not being taken lightly.
The specific threat against the Queen allegedly involves the detonation of a homemade pressure cooker, similar to those used in the Boston Marathon bombing that killed three and injured nearly 300. UK Prime Minister David Cameron has also been named as a potential target of the attacks.
A Scotland Yard spokesman told Sky News, “While the UK threat level from international terrorism remains severe, we would like to reassure the public that we constantly review security plans for public events, taking into account specific intelligence and the wider threat. Our priority is the safety and security for all those attending or involved.”
Officials from Scotland Yard have been monitoring terrorist threats against the Royal Family for years. The Daily Beast points out that the Queen has faced decades of threats from IRA terrorists and is unlikely to be phased by this weekend’s threat. That being said, law enforcement officials have been monitoring a growing trend of British citizens receiving training from ISIS operatives both domestically and abroad in ISIS strongholds, specifically Syria and Iraq.
According to Vice News, the Islamic State is allegedly training British citizens to carry out “lone wolf attacks” throughout the UK, including this weekend’s VJ Day threat. Instead of recruiting British citizens to travel to Syria or Iraq to fight on the front lines, the Islamic State is urging British jihadists to carry out acts of domestic terrorism, ultimately growing the ISIS threat in the West.
In an undercover investigation, Sky News developed four fictional online characters posing as potential British jihadists. These online characters looked to gain insight into the Islamic State’s internet tactics for training and mobilizing “lone wolf” jihadists throughout the UK. Sky News sent a dispatch to the border of Syria and Turkey where they met with an ISIS officer who allegedly claimed that a group of British citizens had been trained in carry out acts of terrorism and are already on their way back to the UK.
When asked if the training these British jihadists received was to carry out various terrorist attacks in the UK, the ISIS officer said, “Yes, yes, yes everything, all of this – using the Kalashnikov, the pistol, the bomb, grenades and other things.”
With that in mind, the Scotland Yard spokesman assured the media that “The police, together with our security partners, remain alert to all terrorist threats that may manifest here or where individuals overseas may seek to direct or inspire others to commit attacks in and against the UK.”
“We would also like to reiterate our long-standing advice to remain vigilant and alert,” he said. “As ever we would urge the public to get in touch to report anything suspicious”