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NCA Warns Smuggled Weapons Could Be Used In UK Attack

Aug 1, 2010
The National Crime Agency, the NCA, has said that there is a very real danger of automatic weapons being smuggled into the UK and used in a terrorist style attack like the one that saw 38 people killed on the beach and in a hotel in Tunisia last month. The group, which is often referred to as the UK FBI, has said that the weapons may be smuggled in by organised crime groups but eventually find their way into the hands of radical terrorists.

They were especially concerned over the Czech manufactured Skorpion machine pistol, because as well as being very powerful it is also small and easy to conceal making it the ideal weapon of choice for carrying in order to conduct this style of attack. The warning came as police and security services prepared to increase security levels for the start of the Wimbedon tennis tournament; an event which could attract an attack because of being in the global media spotlight and because of the large crowds that gather both inside and outside the venue.

The terror threat level was raised at the end of June, following the attack in Tunisia when gunman Seifeddine Rezgui killed 38 people on a beach and nearby hotel in Tunisia. It is believed he deliberately targeted the hotel because of its usual high concentration of British tourists, and the Islamic State terrorist group later took the credit for the attack, although Rezgui is not believed to have gone to Syria to train.

Although Rezgui used as Kalashnikov, which he initially hid under a parasol, strict gun laws in the UK mean that it would prove more difficult to be able to carry a weapon of that size unnoticed. For this reason, and because of its high rate of fire, modest size, and the fact that it is believed to be fairly readily available, the Skorpion machine pistol is of the greatest concern to security chiefs in the UK. It could be easily and covertly carried before being used to deadly effect.

As well as the start of Wimbledon, which attracts crowds of thousands of people every year, and is broadcast around the world making it a viable terrorist threat, 7th July also marks the tenth anniversary of the 7/7 bombings in which more than 50 people were killed and 700 injured in 2005. The country paid its respects during a one minute silence, and a number of memorial services were also held, but such anniversaries are another time when security personnel believe that the country is under increased threat.

The only real sign of trouble to occur during the first week of Wimbledon was the seizure of a drone that was flying over the tennis courts and being controlled by a man on a nearby golf course. As well as extra officers deployed for the event, a volunteer police force was also on call, and additional roads were being closed off throughout South West London.
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