Islamist Terrorist Sentenced to a Minimum of Five Years in Prison

Feb 9, 2024 | Threat Analysis, Threat Landscape


Author: Oliver Hair ASyI,
Threat Analyst

Read Time: 3 minutes 

On 02 February 2024, an individual was sentenced to a minimum of five years in prison for possessing chemicals for a terrorist purpose. According to the Crown Prosecution Service, the individual was “dedicated to Islamic State inspired extremist beliefs” and had accessed propaganda videos which provided instructions on manufacturing explosives.{1} The individual had reportedly bought knives, including one of the same type featured in an instructional Islamic State video, and purchased chemicals including hydrogen peroxide online in order to construct an Improvised Explosive Device (IED).{2}

The individual was known by the stage name “Official TS” and, through his own rap music, had shown a growing interest in extreme violence and Islamist ideology. In an unreleased song, “the London Verse”, the individual reportedly mentioned Western victims of Islamic State beheadings and ended with the line “Central London explosion”.{3} The individual later exchanged messages with a 17-year-old fan of his music and both individuals became radicalised online. On 16 February 2022, the individual reportedly contacted the teenager, suggesting he intended to conduct a suicide bombing.{4}

The teenager was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for failure to disclose his knowledge relating to the terrorist activities of the individual, despite trying to persuade the individual not to conduct the attack and deleting messages between them.{5}

Assessment

    • It is almost certain that Islamist terrorism remains the primary terrorism threat to the UK.
    • It is highly likely that heightened tensions in the Middle East at this time would lead to the radicalisation of individuals in the UK. There is a realistic possibility that certain individuals could become motivated to conduct attacks in the UK
    • As demonstrated by the incident mentioned above, it is highly likely that the predominant threat posed by global Islamist terrorist groups to the UK at this time is from the online radicalisation of vulnerable UK-based individuals.
    • Although Islamist terrorist groups almost certainly maintain the intent to project threat toward the UK, it is highly likely that groups such as Islamic State and al-Qui’da are currently focused on regional priorities and the improvement of their own domestic operational capabilities.
    • It is highly likely that children, teenagers, and young adults in the UK would remain at risk of radicalisation in the long term as a result of the continued proliferation of easily accessible extremist content online. In the year ending 31 March 2023, those aged 15 to 20 accounted for the largest proportion of referrals to the UK Government’s Prevent Programme. Those aged 14 and under accounted for the second largest proportion.
    • Although there have been no cases of a successful terrorist attack conducted by a child and/or teenager in the UK at this time, individuals of a young age have previously demonstrated the intent to conduct terrorist attacks in the UK, including:
        • 2024 – Isle of Wight – A 16-year-old individual was convicted of preparation of terrorist acts, three counts of dissemination of terrorist publications, and having an article with a blade or point in a public space.{6} According to Counter Terrorism Police, the individual adhered to an Islamist ideology and had intended to conduct an attack against the Isle of Wight Festival.{7}
        • 2023 -Essex – A 19-year-old was sentenced to life imprisonment for plotting a terrorist attack against British soldiers and police officers in the UK. The individual had previously intended to travel to Syria to join Islamic State and conducted hostile reconnaissance at an army barracks, a magistrates’ court, and a railway station. The individual was carrying a knife when arrested in July 2022.{8}
      • It is highly likely that any terrorist attack conducted at this time would be conducted by an individual or a small cell using a low-sophistication methodology. E.g., Bladed or Blunt Force Weapons, Vehicle as a Weapon, Fire as a Weapon, etc.
      • There is a realistic possibility that terrorist actors in the UK could have the capability to conduct a high-sophistication attack. E.g., Improvised Explosive Device (IED) or Marauding Firearms Attack. However, the complicated nature of plotting a high-sophistication attack makes it likely that there will be greater opportunity for police and security services to disrupt such plots.

        Intelligence Cut-Off Date: 09 February 2024 

          PHIA Scale

          The “Probability Yardstick” (below) is a standardised instrument used to provide professional intelligence assessments. Judgements made using the yardstick are relative and reflect the analyst’s confidence in their findings and assessments.

            • Almost Certain: An event is assessed to have a greater than 90% chance of occurring.
            • Highly Likely: An event is assessed to have a 76% to 90% chance of occurring.
            • Likely: An event is assessed to have a 55% to 75% chance of occurring.
            • Realistic Possibility: An event is assessed to have a 40% to 54% chance of occurring.
            • Unlikely: An event is assessed to have a 25% to 39% chance of occurring.
            • Highly Unlikely: An event is assessed to have an 10% to 24% chance of occurring.
            • Remote Chance: An event is assessed to have a less than 10% chance of occurring.

            Time Spans

              • Short Term: 0 – 6 Months.
              • In the next 12 months.
              • Medium Term: 12 months – 5 Years.
              • Long Term: 5+ Years.
          Author: Oliver Hair ASyI,
          Threat Analyst
          Read Time: 3 minutes

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