LONDON: Daesh terrorists responsible for the 2015 attacks in Paris that killed 130 people have said they abandoned plans for a similar attack in London because of Britain’s “more advanced secret service” and “better surveillance.”
One man currently on trial in France over his role in the Bataclan attacks admitted to traveling to Britain to carry out reconnaissance on potential sites for massacres.
Mohamed Abrini, a 36-year-old Belgian who is also said to have been involved in attacks in Brussels in March 2016, admitted in pre-trial interviews that he had scoped out Old Trafford, soccer team Manchester United’s home stadium, and the Arndale shopping center in Manchester.
Abrini is among 20 people who are due to go on trial on Wednesday for their alleged membership of a terrorist cell responsible for the attack on the Bataclan music venue and other sites across Paris in November 2015. If found guilty, they are likely to face jail terms of multiple life sentences.
Abrini also visited Birmingham and toured the Bull Ring & Grand Central, the largest shopping center in the UK.
However, he said there were “no plans for an attack in London, Birmingham or Manchester” because Britain has a “more advanced secret service” than France.
“Better surveillance,” he added, meant that a “commando operation” as seen in Paris was far less likely to succeed, according to prosecution papers.
He is accused of taking part in preparations for the Paris attacks, leaving the city on the evening of the atrocities. He was arrested in Belgium after taking part in the March 2016 Brussels bombings that killed 32.
They left it to the Abedi family from Libya to murder 22 people and injure over 1000 more, most of them young girls and their mothers at the Manchester Arena 18 months later.