London: UK police have foiled a suicide bombing plot by the Islamic State (IS) group targeting an Armed Forces Day parade here on Saturday, in a bid to kill soldiers from the regiment of Lee Rigby who was killed by Islamist extremists in 2013, a media report said.
The plot to explode a pressure-cooker bomb -– to kill soldiers and bystanders on the route -– was uncovered after one of its leaders in Syria unwittingly recruited an undercover investigator from the newspaper to carry it out, The Sun newspaper said.
The intended suicide bombing of the parade would have targeted soldiers from the same unit as murdered soldier Rigby, the report claimed.
It is alleged that a figure in IS, who it named as Junaid Hussain from Birmingham, told the paper’s investigator: “It will be big. We will hit the kuffar (unbelievers) hard. Hit their soldiers in their own land.
“Soldiers that served in Iraq and Afganistan will be present. Jump in the crowd and detonate the bomb.
“They think they can kill Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan then come back to the UK and be safe. We’ll hit them hard.”
The newspaper said the plot to bomb the parade in Merton, south-west London, was thwarted when it informed police and security services.
The parade was targeted because it was closest to the barracks in Woolwich, south-east London, where Fusilier Rigby, 25, was hacked to death by Islamist extremists in May 2013, the newspaper said.
Fusiliers from his regiment, serving Gurkhas and war veterans would be among the 250 marchers, it added.
Prime Minister David Cameron said there will be “heightened security” at events paying tribute to British military.
Police said they have stepped up security and have encouraged the public to attend events as normal.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “The police, together with our security partners, remain alert to terrorist threats that may manifest here or where individuals overseas may seek to direct or inspire others to commit attacks in and against the UK.
“It is always helpful when journalists share with us information, as The Sun did in this case, that could indicate terrorist or criminal activity.
“Our priority is the safety and security for all those attending or involved -– the public are encouraged to continue with their plans to attend or take part in events as normal.”
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