London, Oct 3 (ANI): Two former senior commanders of the Statistical Analysis System (SAS) have warned that Britain's security forces might not be able to cope with a Mumbai-style terrorist attack in London.
According to The Telegraph, Colonel Richard Williams and Lieutenant General Graeme Lamb said that such a "paramilitary threat" would "overmatch" any land-based police force and turn London into a war zone.
They stated that an attack launched against an office block in Canary Wharf could result in up to a thousand office workers being trapped in a single building, where they could be "murdered one by one, floor by floor". They added that the terrorist attack could equate to "9/11 in slow motion".
Col Williams, who commanded the SAS from 2005 to 2008, and won a Military Cross fighting in Afghanistan and General Lamb, who was the director of special forces from 2000 to 2003, warned that launching a terrorist operation against London "would be difficult but not impossible".
"Following 9/11, one of those that troubled us most was a large-scale, Mumbai-style attack by al-Qaeda or one of its affiliates. Recent intelligence reports have shown that such a threat is much more real than a 'Spooks' scriptwriter's fantasy," the paper quoted the Special Forces officers, who were paid to examine ways to counter such terrorist attacks, as saying."What makes such an attack so dangerous is that it could be launched with no warning and without requiring a UK-based terrorist cell or stash of weapons, via the exploitation of the open maritime flank - in this case the Thames estuary - that effectively links a failed state/terrorist heartland and its suicidal terrorists, directly with London's financial centre," they added.
The challenge for the Government is to create a Strategic Defence and Security Review to cope with an atrocity of the magnitude of Mumbai and create armed forces able to cope with future threats posed by international terrorists, they insisted.
During a "commando-style" raid by 10 gunmen on hotels and cafis in Mumbai in November 2008, 174 people were killed and more than 300 injured over three days. (ANI)