Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dirty bomb threat looms over G20 meet

LONDON: After decades of campaigns by Irish Republicans and, most recently, Islamist militants, Britons have become used to the daily threat of terrorism.

But in a warning that the stakes have been raised — and just days before world leaders gather here for the Group of 20 meeting — a warning was given this week that a so-called dirty bomb on a British city is more likely than ever. The government alert accompanied the launch of a major new anti-terrorist strategy that encourages ordinary citizens to offer Britain an additional layer of security.

The new approach aims to train some 60,000 retail, hotel, and service industry staff to recognize terrorist threats. In addition, more resources will go into blocking access to information posted online on how to stage terror attacks. Most significant, as part of a broader ideological offensive against terrorism and amid growing concern that alienated Muslim youths are being recruited by terror groups, the government will allocate funds for influential groups and individuals in Britain's Muslim community.

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