British PM Raises UK Threat Level to 'Severe'

Government thinks attack by extremists is 'highly likely'

By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 29, 2014 12:46 PM CDT

(Newser) – David Cameron changed the UK threat level from "substantial" to "severe"—its second-highest level—and outlined measures the British government is taking to combat terrorism at a press conference today in London, reports the BBC. On the heels of the execution of James Foley and other disturbing ISIS activity in Iraq and Syria, the British government now believes an attack on the UK is "highly likely," though not necessarily "imminent" based on current evidence.

The prime minister didn't mention any specific changes Brits should make to their daily routines, saying "we should continue to go about our lives in the normal way," but he did detail increased countermeasures the government would be taking, including helping Kurds secure weapons to fight off ISIS rebels, increasing humanitarian efforts to communities attacked by ISIS, and adding police at home. The UK has already been taking away passports of British citizens intent on fighting with ISIS, a legal deterrent it tapped into at least 14 times over the past year. "This is not some foreign conflict thousands of miles away that we can hope to ignore," he said, according to Fox News. "We need a tough, intelligent, patient, comprehensive approach to defeat the terrorist threat at its source."

British Prime Minister David Cameron delivers a press conference in London on Aug. 29, 2014 about the increased threat level.
British Prime Minister David Cameron delivers a press conference in London on Aug. 29, 2014 about the increased threat level.   (AP Photo/Facundo Arrizabalaga, Pool)
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