Hunt says UK should 'absolutely' be concerned about Islamic State after Moscow attack

By John Mercury March 25, 2024

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has warned the UK should “absolutely” be concerned about the threat of Islamic State following the terror attack in Moscow.

At least 133 people died in the massacre in the Russian capital on Friday.

Islamic State Khorasan (IS-K), which is a branch of the militant group operating in central Asia, has claimed responsibility.

Asked if the rest of Europe – including the UK – should be “concerned” in the wake of Friday’s events, Mr Hunt told Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips: “Absolutely.”

He added: “We are very lucky in this country that we have incredibly impressive intelligence agencies who have been successful in stopping, in foiling, a lot of terrorist threats over recent years.

“But we have to remain vigilant – and, you know, if it is Islamic State, they are utterly indiscriminate in what they do, they are prepared to murder in the most horrific way.”

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Asked if there was a chance of the UK’s threat level being raised, Mr Hunt said this was decided by a “special system” in government, and said he was not privy to their discussions.

“I know that they will be looking at this kind of event” Mr Hunt said, “And then they’ll be looking at the intelligence that our own intelligence agencies, MI5 and MI6, GCHQ, are picking up.

“And, what I would say is that while we must remain vigilant, they have been extraordinarily successful in foiling a number of plots – a lot of things that never reached the public domain.”

Currently, the UK’s threat level is “substantial” – the third-highest rating, according to the Security Service, also known as MI5.

The levels are as follows:

• Low – an attack is highly unlikely
• Moderate – an attack is possible, but not likely
• Substantial – an attack is likely
• Severe – an attack is highly likely
• Critical – an attack is highly likely in the near future

With Russia claiming there may be Ukrainian involvement in the attacks on Friday, Mr Hunt was asked how much the public should believe them.

He told Sky News: “I think we have very little confidence in anything the Russian government says.

“We know that they are creating a smokescreen of propaganda to defend an utterly evil invasion of Ukraine.”

He added that he takes “what the Russian government says with an enormous pinch of salt”.

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