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Why the UK’s terrorism threat level has been raised and what happens now

Most parts of the UK are now living in a state of some form of lockdown. Meanwhile, however, more police are out on the streets.

This is because in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Austria and France, the UK’s terrorism threat level has been raised to “severe”.

In Vienna, a man reported to be a sympathiser of the proclaimed Islamic State group, opened fire with an automatic rifle in a city street, killing four and seriously injuring several more.

This came shortly after two other attacks in France. In Nice two people were killed and, in Paris, a teacher was targeted at the end of October.

At the time of these attacks, the UK terrorism threat level was set at “substantial” – meaning that an attack was likely. The threat has been at this level since November 2019.

The timing of the attack in Vienna was significant. It was the night before Austria was due to go into a period of lockdown to manage the spread of COVID-19.

It meant the city centre would be busy as people enjoyed a final night out before restrictions came into force. Busy public spaces have been targets in multiple other attacks in recent years in France, Germany and the UK.

For the full article, by Dr Alasdair Booth, visit the Conversation.

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 20/178

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