Christmas markets may be at risk of ‘lone wolf’ attacks, security officials fear

The UK's Christmas markets could be a potential target for “lone wolf” terror attacks, according to security officials.

In the aftermath of the terror attack on the Liverpool Women's Hospital on Sunday, the country's terror threat level was raised to “severe”, with leaders worried that lone wolf copycats could emerge, according to reports in The Sun.

The call to raise the threat level was made following the incident on Remembrance Sunday, which saw an improvised explosive device created by asylum seeker Emad Jamil Al Swealmeen explode inside a taxi outside the hospital.

The attack was the second to take place in a month, after the death of Tory MP Sir David Amess at a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on October 15.

And Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the car bomb attack at Liverpool Women’s Hospital was “a stark reminder of the need for us all to remain utterly vigilant”.

It is feared that large gatherings, such as Christmas Markets – which have become a main attraction for many UK cities at this time of year – could be a target, as well as any large gatherings.

Security minister Damian Hinds said: “We want people to be not alarmed but alert.”

Dr Dan Lomas, a lecturer in intelligence and security studies at Brunel University, told The Sun that “someone who might not seem to pose a risk today, might suddenly decide to carry out an attack tomorrow”.

And MI5's Ken McCallum said: “Our job is to deal with a one in a million case, where the living room is a terrorist living room.”

As we reported this week, the bomb used in Sunday's terror attack outside Liverpool Women's Hopsital has been dubbed the “Mother of Satan”.

The improvised explosive device created by asylum seeker Emad Jamil Al Swealmeen, 32, was given the nickname by twisted Jihadi bombers because of its tendency to blow up without warning.

It was the same kind of explosive used during the 2015 Paris suicide attack, which killed 130 people, and the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017, which saw 22 murdered at an Ariana Grande concert.

It was also the same kind of device used in the attempted bombing of Parson's Green Tube station back in September 2017, where a similar bomb failed to detonate.

Security measures have been put in place around Christmas markets in the past to foil vehicle attacks.

The Daily Star has reached out to the Prime Minister's spokesman concerning fears over potential of lone wolf-style attacks.

Social media did not react well to the news that the markets could be a target, however.

AndyBowers11 tweeted: “Christmas was already out the window due to Brexit and Covid because the government underestimated both.

“Lone wolves have never threatened Xmas before so this is bull***t.”

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