The UK’s terrorism threat level has been raised to ‘severe’ as a precaution following attacks in France and Austria. The decision announced by Home Secretary Priti Patel came after a man who had previously tried to join the Islamic State group stormed through the center of the Austrian capital of Vienna armed with an automatic rifle and a fake explosive vest on Monday night, killing four people before police shot and killed him.
“This is a precautionary measure following the terrible incidences that we’ve seen in France last week and the events that we saw in Austria last night,” Patel said.
“But as I’ve said, the public should not be alarmed,” she added.
The threat level of severe is defined as an attack is considered highly likely, according to the government’s classification system.
The level had previously been at ‘substantial’, meaning an attack is likely.
“The first and most important duty of the government is obviously to protect the British public and we are doing that and will continue to do that through the measures and the tools that we put in place in terms of dealing with terrorism and terrorist activity. At this particular stage, though, if the public have any concerns, I would ask them to report anything of concern that they may have to the police,” Patel said.
The UK government’s Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, which was established in June 2003, made the decision.
The center assesses intelligence relating to international terrorism, at home and overseas, and sets threat levels and issues warnings of threats and other terrorist-related information.