Tourist alert: 26/11-like attacks on London feared
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Jul 15, 2009
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LONDON - Terrorists are planning attacks on London's tourist hotspots by sending explosive-laden boats down the Thames river, with an intelligence
official claiming that the Mumbai strikes showed the way, a media report said.
The Houses of Parliament, the London Eye and Canary Wharf figure among over 100 "key site" vulnerabilities thought to be under terror threat, the Daily Star newspaper quoted security sources as saying.
"Mumbai showed just how easy it is for terrorists to use boats to aid co-ordinated attacks. The vessels were used to get into the city but they could just as easily launch an attack from the boats," the intelligence official said.
The intelligence inputs have prompted the London River police to be on red alert for Islamic fanatics. Even the Met's Marine Support Unit has responded by conducting searches on boats under counter-terror laws.
Sgt Mark Spurgeon said: "Protecting London from terrorists is now our primary objective. There are a number of high-profile buildings, like the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye, that could be targeted at any time.
"We're stepping up patrols on the Thames and stopping and searching boats for weapons and suspicious packages."
In fact, river security in the UK has been tightened since gunmen slipped into Mumbai by boats last November, that exposed the vulnerability of India's coastline.
The terrorist attacks claimed the lives of over 170 people, including many foreign nationals.