Counter-Terrorism Timeline

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This article is part of the Counter-Terrorism Portal project of Spinwatch.

Book Cover of Steve Hewitt (2007) 'The British War on Terror: Terrorism & Counter-Terrorism on the Home Front Since 9/11' (Continuum International Publishing Group)

This is a timeline of a series of terrorism/counter-terrorism incidents in the United Kingdom since 19 February 2001, the date which the first permanent piece of anti-terror legislation was introduced in the UK - the Terrorism Act 2000.

The timeline is based on one from Steve Hewitt (2007) The British War on Terror: Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism on the Home Front since 9/11 (Continuum International Publishing Group) with the author's full consent and written permission. PowerBase is grateful to Steve Hewitt.[1]


19 February - The Terrorism Act 2000 comes into effect, replacing the Prevention of Terrorism Act that had been in place since 1974.
7 June - Tony Blair and the Labour Party are re-elected in the general election.
11 September - Attacks occur in New York and Washington DC, killing just under 3,000 people, including 67 Britons.
21 September - Lotfi Raissi, an Algerian flight instructor living in Britain, is arrested on suspicion of having been involved in the 11 September attacks. He is sent to Belmarsh Prison for several months. On 21 April 2003, all charges against him are dropped.
7 October - British and American air attacks against the Taliban in Afghanistan begin.
12 November - The Blair government introduces the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security bill in the House of Commons.
13 December - The Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act receives royal assent.
19 December - Raids in Luton, London and the West Midlands leads to the detention of eight individuals with alleged ties to international terrorism under the new Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act.
22 December - British citizen Richard Reid is arrested after he attempts to destroy American Airlines Flight 63 with an explosive hidden in his shoe.


15 February - Home Secretary David Blunkett ends efforts to extradite accused terrorist Abdelghani Ait Haddad because of concern about the legitimacy of the evidence against him.
7 May - Lord Rooker, a Home Office minister, says that since the Terrorism Act 2000 came into effect on 19 February 2001 '144 persons have been arrested under [it]. There have as yet been no convictions for terrorist offences to date but ten people are undergoing or awaiting trial for such offences'.
6 July - The Guardian reports that the British Air Transport Association opposes a Home Office plan to require airlines to record personal informa¬tion.
23 July - The date of the so-called 'Downing Street Memo'. The document reveals that the Bush administration was set by this date on war with Iraq.
30 July - The Special Immigration Appeals Commission rules that indefinite internment under Part 4 of the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 is both 'unlawful' and 'discriminatory'.
2 August - The Home Office lists two new Codes of Practice under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 related to intelligence collection.
9 August - An Old Bailey jury acquits Suleyman Zainulabdin, a London chef, who was arrested the previous October and charged under the Terrorism Act 2000 with 'inviting another to receive instruction or training in making or using firearms or explosives'.
22 August - The UK Home Office issues a Circular (44/2002) authorizing police and other authorities to request airline and shipping companies to provide 'police intelligence' on passengers.
5 September - Amnesty International issues a report expressing concern 'about serious human rights violations that have taken place as a consequence of the United Kingdom (UK) authorities' response to the 11 September 2001 attacks in the United States of America'.
12 October - Bombs explode in the Indonesian resort of Bali killing 202 people. Twenty-four Britons are among the dead.


5 January - Police arrest seven men in London related to a plot to manufacture the poison ricin for attacks on the London Underground. All were later acquitted of murder charges related to the ricin plot, although another would be convicted of 'conspiracy to commit a public nuisance by the use of poisons or explosives to cause disruption, fear or injury'.
14 January - Police raid a flat in Manchester while searching for a terrorism suspect. In the course of being arrested, Kamel Bourgass, one of the ricin suspects, stabs to death Detective Constable Stephen Oake.
20 January - Police raid the Finsbury Park mosque. They arrest seven people and seize weapons and forged passports.
30 January - Richard Reid, the 'shoe bomber', is convicted of terrorism by an American court and sentenced to life in prison.
5 February - During a public briefing to the United Nations Security Council, Colin Powell makes reference to the ricin arrests in the UK the month before and implicitly links these to the Saddam Hussein regime.
11 February - The Blair government deploys the British military, including armoured vehicles, at Heathrow Airport because of the apparent threat of a terrorist attack.
12 February - Five weeks before the invasion of Iraq, the Joint Intelligence Committee warns the government that the invasion of Iraq would increase the risk of terrorist attacks against the UK.
7 March - The Attorney General Lord Goldsmith sends a 13-page memo to Tony Blair warning that the invasion of Iraq could be deemed illegal without the second United Nations resolution.
17 March - In a shorter memo Attorney General Lord Goldsmith declares the proposed invasion of Iraq to be legal.
19 March - The American and British invasion of Iraq begins. Twenty¬seven British service personnel die in the first 13 days of hostilities.
31 March - The US/UK Extradition Treaty is signed.
1 April - Two Algerians with ties to al-Qaeda, Brahim Benmerzouga and Baghdad Meziane, who were arrested in the UK in September 2001, are sentenced to 11 years in prison because of their involvement in terrorism fund-raising and recruitment.
1 May - President George W. Bush, from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln, announces that 'Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.'
17 July - Scientist and WMD specialist Dr David Kelly commits suicide. 18 July - The Blair government announces an inquiry under the leadership of Lord Hutton into the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr David Kelly.
25 October - Andrew Rowe is arrested under the Terrorism Act in Dover. He is found to be carrying socks containing traces of high explosives and would be convicted of terrorism offences in September 2005.
20 November' - On the day that President Bush arrives in London for a state visit, bombs explode at the British consulate and headquarters of HSBC Bank in Istanbul, Turkey. Thirty people die in the blasts and hundreds are wounded. Among the dead is Consul-General Roger Short, the top British diplomat in Istanbul.


1 January - The Extradition Act 2003, including the US/UK Extradition Treaty, comes into effect.
28 January - The Hutton Report is released. It is highly critical of BBC news coverage that alleged that Downing Street had 'sexed up' a pre-war intel¬ligence dossier while absolving the Blair government of any wrongdoing.
3 February - The Blair government announces an inquiry under the leader¬ship of Lord Robin Butler, a career civil servant, into British intelligence surrounding Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
11 March - AI-Qaeda-inspired terrorist train bombings in Madrid kill 191 people and injure over 2,000.
30 March - Seven men in possession of approximately half a ton of ammonium nitrate fertilizer are arrested in West Sussex as part of Operation Crevice. The Crown would later allege that they intended to bomb several targets including the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent and the Ministry of Sound nightclub in London. Five of the seven would be convicted in April 2007.
6 April - Cabinet secretary Sir Andrew Turnbull writes to John Grieve, permanent secretary at the Home Office, and notes that the Cabinet had 'recently discussed relations between the Muslim and other communities here in the UK'. The letter sets forth a number of topics related to the disaffection of British Muslims for further discussion.
19 April - Over 400 officers raid homes in the Manchester area and arrest eight men, one woman, and a 16-year-old boy. Media coverage links those arrested to plots involving attacks on Old Trafford during a Manchester United game.
10 May - John Grieve writes back to Turnbull and includes a draft of a Foreign Office and Home Office paper entitled 'Young Muslims and Extremism' .
18 May - Sir Michael Jay from the Foreign Office writes to Sir Andrew Turnbull about the findings in 'Young Muslims and Extremism'. The actual report lists a number of forces that were leading to the radicalization of young British Muslims, 'including the issue of British foreign policy, especially in the context of the Middle East Peace Process and Iraq'.
29 June - Court sentences Kamel Bourgass to life imprisonment for the murder of DC Stephen Oake.
14 July - The Butler Report is released. It is critical of the quality of British intelligence in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq.
3 August - Fourteen men are arrested and eight eventually charged over a plot to blow up financial buildings in London. The plot's leader, Dhiren Barot, would later plead guilty and be sentenced to life in prison.
26 August - Abu Hamza, a radical Islamic cleric based in London, is arrested under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
24 September - Four men are arrested in Brent Cross, London after they try to buy 'red mercury' in a newspaper sting. Three would be charged and later acquitted at their trial in July 2006.
19 October - Abu Hamza is charged with 16 different offences.
25 October - Andrew Rowe is arrested under the Terrorism Act in Dover. He is found to be carrying socks containing traces of high explosives and would be convicted of terrorism offences in September 2005.
2 November - George Bush is re-elected President of the United States. 17 November - Tony Blair promises to bring in legislation to target the 'economic sabotage' done by animal-rights extremists.
19 November - Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer arrive in Karachi, Pakistan in order, it is believed, to attend terrorist training camps.
20 November - On the day that President Bush arrives in London for a state visit, bombs explode at the British consulate and headquarters of HSBC Bank in Istanbul, Turkey. Thirty people die in the blasts and hundreds are wounded. Among the dead is Consul-General Roger Short, the top British diplomat in Istanbul.
24 November - The government introduces the Serious Organised Crime and Police bill. It requires protesters to seek police permission before being allowed to demonstrate within one kilometre of Parliament Square. The bill receives royal assent the following April.
16 December - The Law Lords rule that the detention of nine non-Britons at Belmarsh Prison without trial, under the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, is unlawful under European human rights law, although the detentions continue.


22 February - The Prevention of Terrorism bill is introduced to the House of Commons.
4 March - Hazel Blears, the minister responsible for counter-terrorism, announces in the House of Commons that 'some of our counter-terrorism powers will be disproportionately experienced by the Muslim community' since terrorists are 'falsely hiding behind Islam'.
6 March - Sir John Stevens, former head of London Metropolitan Police, warns in the News of the World that as many as 200 al-Qaeda-trained terrorists may be in the UK.
11 March - The Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005, designed in part to deal with the Law Lords' ruling from the previous December through a new regime of 'control orders', is given royal assent.
17 March - The Blair government announces a 'National Identity Scheme' that will see the issuance of Identity Cards.
5 May - Tony Blair and the Labour Party are re-elected in the general election.
6 July - According to the Guardian, the head of MI5, Dame Eliza Maniningham-Buller, briefs a group of Labour MPs, assuring them that no terrorist attacks are on the horizon.
7 July - Four suicide bombers, Mohammad Sidique Khan, Shehzad Tanweer, Hasib Hussain and Jermaine Lindsay, kill 56 and wound 700 in London.
14 July - Memo from Mockbul Ali, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Islamic issues adviser, recommends allowing Qatari-based cleric Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi into Britain because of his opposition to terrorism outside of Israel and Iraq.
15 July - Home Secretary Charles Clarke writes to the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretaries to ask for their input on anti¬terrorism legislation.
18 July - The New York Times reports that less than a month before the 7 July bombings the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) informed the Blair government that 'at present there is not a group with both the current intent and the capability to attack the U.K.' This prompted the government to reduce the threat level from 'severe defined' to 'substantial', one step above the category of 'moderate' that the Irish Republican Army was in at that time.
19 July - The Guardian reports that approximately 200 foreign scientists have been barred from studying at British universities in the previous four years because of a fear that they could be connected to terrorism.
21 July - Attacks by four suicide bombers on the London tube and a bus, mimicking the attacks from two weeks earlier, fail when their explosives do not detonate.
22 July - The Metropolitan Police shoot Jean Charles De Menezes, a Brazilian electrician, seven times in the head after he is mistaken for a suicide bomber.
5 August - At a Downing Street press conference, Tony Blair announces a new 12-point plan for combating terrorism.
1 September - In a video released by al-Qaeda, Mohammad Sidique Khan, the apparent ringleader of the 7 July bombings, blames British foreign policy for the attacks.
23 September - Andrew Rowe is convicted of terrorism and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
28 September - Waiter Wolfgang, an 82-year-old member of the Labour Party, is removed from the Labour Party's annual conference and briefly detained under the Terrorism Act 2000 after he heckles Foreign Minister Jack Straw.
12 October - In response to the 7 July bombings, the Blair government introduces new terrorism legislation to the House. One of its measures would allow for the detention of suspects for 90 days without charge.
21 October - Police raid the homes of three men, Younes Tsouli, Waseem Mughal and Tariq al-Daour, in the London area. All three eventually face a number of charges under the Terrorism Act 2000, including inciting another individual to carry out an act of terrorism either partly or wholly outside of the United Kingdom.
9 November - Forty-nine Labour MPs join the opposition to defeat a measure contained within the new terrorism bill calling for the right to detain terrorism suspects for 90 days without charge.
15 December - The government drops the proposal made by Tony Blair at his 5 August press conference to allow the government the power to order the closure of 'a place of worship which is used as a centre for fomenting extremism'.
20 December - Abbas Boutrab, an Algerian national who used at least seven pseudonyms, is sentenced to six years in prison for down loading information on how to destroy an aeroplane with a bomb.


3 February - A crowd, some chanting 'Bomb, bomb the UK', protests about cartoons published in Denmark depicting the Prophet Mohammed. At least three of the protesters, including Umran Javed, one of the protest's leaders, would eventually be convicted over their actions during the demonstration.
7 February - Abu Hamza is found guilty on 11 charges. He is sentenced to seven years in prison.
30 March - The Terrorism Act 2006 becomes law. The House forces the Blair government to accept a 28-day detention period for suspects instead of the requested 90 days.
30 March - The Identity Cards Act receives royal assent.
2 June - The Metropolitan Police raid a house in Forest Gate, London; they arrest two men, accidentally shooting one in the shoulder in the process. Both are later released without charge.
17 July - Under powers granted by the Terrorism Act 2006, Home Secretary John Reid announces that two British Islamic organizations, al-Ghurabaa and the Saved Sect, would be banned on the grounds that they had been responsible for 'glorifying terrorism'.
25 July - Three men charged with trying to acquire 'red mercury' are acquitted.
10 August - Twenty-four people around England are arrested for their involvement in an alleged plot to blow up several airliners using liquid gel explosives. Becomes known as the Transatlantic Airline Plot.
23 August - Four arrests of men accused of financing terrorism occur in Manchester over a one-month period.
1 September - Twelve men are arrested in London as part of a police operation that included the closing of the Jameah Islameah School in Sussex for three weeks.
20 September - Home Secretary John Reid is heckled by two individuals, Abu Izzadeen and Anjem Choudary, during a speech by Reid to a group of British Muslims in London. Izzadeen is a spokesperson for al-Ghurabaa, an organization proscribed by the Blair government under the Terrorism Act 2006.
28 September - Talbot Street Bomb Making Haul: Robert Cottage (a former BNP member) and David Bolus Jackson are charged under Explosives Substances Act 1883 for being in possession of rocket launchers and explosive-grade chemicals. Both men are cleared in a re-trial after the jury fails to reach a verdict. Robert Cottage is convicted for two and half years for possessing chemicals unlawfully.[2]
5 October - House Leader Jack Straw criticizes the wearing of the niqab, labelling it as 'a visible statement of separation and of difference'.
11 October - Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly announces that Muslim groups will receive funding on the basis that 'In future our strategy on funding and engagement must shift significantly to [Muslim] organizations taking a pro-active leadership role in tackling extremism and defending our shared values'.
6 November - Dhiren Barot receives a 40-year sentence for plotting in 2004 bombings that would have allegedly targeted the financial sector in London.
9 November - In front of an audience at Queen Mary, University of London, Eliza Manningham-Buller says that MI5 is monitoring 30 active terrorism plots and over 200 groups and networks involving 1,600 people.


5 January - Umran Javed from Birmingham is convicted of inciting racial hatred and soliciting murder over his role in the February 2006 London demonstration against the Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed.
31 January - As part of Operation Gamble, nine men are arrested in the West Midlands on terrorism charges allegedly involving the kidnapping and execution of a British Muslim soldier. Only one would be charged with kidnapping.
16 February - The Islamic Human Rights Commission releases a report examining the demonization of Muslims in the British media.
22 February - In a vote, MPs renew control orders for another year. Eighteen individuals suspected of connections to terrorism, although never having been charged with terrorism offences, are subject to such orders. 22 February - Lotfi Raissi, wrongly linked to the 11 September attacks, is denied compensation by judges for months he spent in prison after being arrested in the aftermath of 9/11.
25 February - A British government document, drawn up earlier in the month under the title 'Extremism Threat Assessment', and distributed to MI5, Scotland Yard's Counter-Terrorism Command, the Home Office, the Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Defence, reports the Sunday Telegraph, warns that more than 2,000 terrorists may be plotting attacks on 'soft targets', including the transportation system, in the UK.
26 February - The Special Immigration Appeals Commission denies the appeal of Muslim preacher Abu Qatada, held in prison for much of the previous five years, allowing the Blair government to deport Qatada to his native Jordan.
5 March - The Home Office releases statistics showing that 1,126 arrests had been made under the Terrorism Act 2000 between 11 September 2001 and 31 December 2006. Of these arrests, 117 faced terrorism charges while 104 more were charged with both terrorism and criminal offences. An additional 186 faced other criminal charges while 74 were turned over to immigration officials. 652 faced no charges at all and were released. Only 40 have so far been convicted on terrorism charges while 180 were convicted on other charges and 98 are still involved in trials or facing trials.
8 March - It is announced that a career intelligence agent and specialist on al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda-related groups, Jonathan Evans, who also had experience in dealing with the Irish Republican Army, will succeed Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller as the head of MI5 when she retires at the end of March.
14 March - The Pentagon releases the transcript of the appearance at the Combatant Status Review Tribunal hearing of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the apparent mastermind of the attacks of 11 September 2001. Mohammed admits to his involvement in several plots including an operation aimed at destroying Heathrow, Canary Wharf and Big Ben.
22 March - Three men, Sa deer Saleem, Mohammed Shakil and Waheed Ali, are detained by police. On 5 April, they would be charged in connection with the London bombings of 7 July 2005. Specifically, they are alleged to have carried out 'reconnaissance and planning for a plot with those ultimately responsible for the bombings on the 7 July before the plan was finalised'.
21 April - Jonathan Evans takes over as Director-General of MI5, succeeding Dame Eliza Mannigham-Buller.[3]
24 April - Police arrest six men, five in London and one in Luton, on suspicion of inciting others to commit acts of terrorism and of raising funds to support terrorism. One of those arrested, Abu Izzadeen, had heckled Home Office Secretary John Reid at a public event in September 2006.
24 April - Tony Blair chairs the first meeting of a new high-profile terrorism committee consisting of him, cabinet ministers, senior police officers and security chiefs. The committee, created as part of reforms to the Home Office designed to speed the flow of information related to terrorism, hears a briefing from the new head of MI5, Jonathan Evans.
27 April - The Special Immigration Appeals Commission rules in favour of two Libyan nationals, known only as DD and AS, who had appealed against their deportation to Libya. The Blair government had previously signed a Memo of Understanding (MoU) with the government of Libya to guarantee that those being deported would not face torture or other harsh treatment once returned.
30 April - In a year-long trial, a jury finds five men guilty of charges related to a plot to set off fertilizer bombs around the UK - having been arrested in Operation Crevice. Two are acquitted. Revealed officially in the aftermath of the verdict is that two of the 7 July bombers, Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer, were observed by British security in a meeting with Omar Khyam, the ringleader of the fertilizer plot.
6 May - A former head of the Metropolitan Police, Sir John Stevens, claims that up to 4,000 terrorists and terrorist sympathizers are in the United Kingdom.
9 May - Four individuals, including the widow of the 7 July bomber, Mohammad Sidique Khan, are arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism, under the Terrorism Act 2000. Three of them, including Khan's widow, would be released without charge on 15 May, while the fourth would be charged under the Terrorism Act 2000 with possession of an al-Qaeda training manual.
10 May - Tony Blair announces his resignation and in a speech links the invasion of Iraq to increased terrorist attacks in its aftermath.
23 May - Police announce that three individuals, under control orders including Algerian brothers, have absconded.
25 May - Abdullah el-Faisal, a radical Muslim cleric, is deported to Jamaica. He had been previously convicted of soliciting murder and inciting racial hatred for calling on Muslims to kill non-believers.
June (unknown day) - The Research, Information and Communications Unit (RICU) is established as a strategic communications unit that forms part of the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism (OSCT). It is staffed and directed by the FCO, Home Office and FCO.[4]
15 June - Seven members of Dhiren Barot's gang receive sentences ranging from 1 5 to 26 years in prison for their involvement in the planning of terrorist attacks.
18 June - The seventh individual subject to a control order absconds.
27 June - Tony Blair steps down; Gordon Brown becomes the new prime minister.
29 June - Police defuse two car bombs in central London.
30 June - In an attack linked to the failed car bombs, two men ram a Jeep filled with petrol and propane tanks into the front of a passenger terminal at Glasgow International Airport. One passenger receives a minor injury while the driver of the vehicle suffers severe burns that he later dies from. Over the next few days, police arrest eight people in association with the attacks, although only three are charged.
8 July - The News of the World publishes a map detailing the number of extremist groups or terrorist cells by region according to the Security Service. The Midlands tops the list with 80 compared to 35 in London.
9 July - A jury convicts Muktar Said Ibrahim, Hussain Osman, Ramzi Mohammed and Yassin Omar of conspiracy to murder because of their failed suicide attacks in London on 21 July 2005. All four receive minimum sentences of 40 years.
25 July - Gordon Brown officially proposes new anti-terror legislation to Parliament. Major changes include the creation of a border police force and a 56-day period to allow questioning of suspects before the laying of charges.


May 14 - Nottingham University Postgraduate Student, Rizwaan Sabir and Hicham Yezza are arrested as suspected terrorists at Nottingham University after being found in possession of an alleged al-Qaeda 'training manual'. Both men are released without charge from alleged terrorist offences six days later.[5]


24 March - New Labour Government announces the launch of the updated CONTEST Strategy.
8 April - Operation Pathways is launched by Scotland Yard and Greater Manchester Police. 12 Pakistani Students are arrested in the North West in hasty raids after Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick is photographed walking into Downing Street with documents relating to the Operation clearly displayed. Raids are executed at Liverpool John Moores University, an internet café in Cheetham Hill, Manchester and linked addresses across Lancashire. Prime Minister Gordon Brown describes the foiled plot as “very big” and security sources claim that an “imminent […] al-Qaida plot” has been foiled. All 12 men are released 'without charge'[6].
9 April – Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick resigns over the leak relating to Operation Pathways [7].


22 January - Threat level to the UK raised from Substantial to Severe, meaning that an attack is "highly likely".[8]
22 March - Annual Report of CONTEST released by the Home Office.[9]
22 March - The Home Office releases the UK's Strategy for countering the use of CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear) weapons by terrorists.[10]
23 March - Research, Information and Communications Unit (RICU), the department under command of the Home Office, FCO and DCLG that is responsible for Strategic Communications releases seven reports relating to the subject of audience analysis and communications.[11]
24 April - Lofti Raissi, the Algerian Pilot who was arrested and detained in the UK for two years for allegedly being responsible for training four of the 9/11 hijackers, won his "decade-long miscarriage of justice battle". The Ministry of Justice confirm that Lofti Raissi will be awarded £2 million in compensation. [12]
11 May - The Conservative Party and Liberal Democrat Party form a coalition government. David Cameron becomes PM and Nick Clegg becomes Deputy PM. Theresa May is appointed as Home Secretary and William Hague as Foreign Secretary.
12 May - PM David Cameron announces the creation of a National Security Council (NSC) which aims to "coordinate responses to the dangers [the UK] face[s], integrating at the highest level the work of the foreign, defence, home, energy and international development departments, and all other arms of government contributing to national security". Sir Peter Ricketts (Permanent Undersecretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office) is appointed as the PM's National Security Adviser, a new role based in the Cabinet Office, which will involve "...[e]stablishing the National Security Council structures, and coordinate and delivering the Government’s international security agenda"[13].
18 May - Abid Naseer and Ahmad Faraz Khan, two of the men arrested in hasty anti-terror raids in Manchester in April 2009, are declared a threat to National Security by the Special Immigrations Appeals Commission (SIAC) but cannot be deported on human rights grounds because they may face torture in Pakistan. Home Secretary Theresa May states: "We are disappointed that the court has ruled that Abid Naseer and Ahmad Faraz Khan should not be deported to Pakistan, which we were seeking on national security grounds. As the court agreed, they are a security risk to the UK [and] we are now taking all possible measures to ensure they do not engage in terrorist activity.'[14]
25 May – Queen’s speech announces 3 new pieces of legislation – Identity Documents Bill, Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill and the Freedom (Great Repeal) Bill. [15]
27 May - Home Secretary Theresa May announces that the New Labour initiative of compulsory ID cards is to be scrapped within 100 days under the first piece of legislation introduced by the Coalition Government, the Identity Documents Bill. The National Identity Register, the database which holds the personal information and fingerprints of the ID card holders, will also be destroyed. The Bill, it is believed, will be active by August 2010[16].
12 August - 4 police officers from the Metropolitan Police Service are charged with 'Actual Bodily Harm' (ABH) toward Babar Ahmad, the terror suspect that was arrested on 2 December 2003 and released without charge after 6 days. The officers are: PC Rod James-Bowen, age 39 from the Territorial Support Group; PC Nigel Cowley, age 32, from the Territorial Support Group; PC Mark Jones, age 43, from the Territorial Support Group; and DC John Donohue, from the Special Operations Unit. The 4 defendents are set to appear at the City of Westminister Court on 22 September 2010.[17] [18]
16 September - Jonathan Evans, Head of MI5, gives speech at the Worshipful Company of Security Professionals where he outlines the terrorist threat facing the UK. Jonathan Evans states that there was a resurgence of violence from dissident Northern Irish groups, but Al-Qaida terrorism continues to be the focus of the security services. Also states that terror plots linked to the tribal areas of Afghanistan-Pakistan have dropped from 75% to 50% in the last three years; not because the threat has "lessened" but because the threat has "diversified" and "increased ... elsewhere" - with Somalia and Yemen proving to be new hubs of terrorism.[19]
17 September Metropolitan Police Service Counter-Terrorism Command arrest 6 people (of Algerian nationality - aged 26, 27, 29, 36, 40 and 50) on suspicion of being involved in an Islamist-terrorist plot against Pope Benedict XVI during his state visit to the UK.[20] Police search a total of 8 homes in North and East London and two business premises in Central London, including Veolia environmental services street-cleaning depot.[21] Nothing is found and all men are released after 48 hours without any charges being brought against them.[22]


  1. Note Steve Hewitt's book, from which the timeline is taken, does not contain any references or footnotes. All material added to the timeline post 25 July 2007 has been added by PowerBase and will therefore be fully referenced and sourced in accordance with the strict Powerbase Referencing Policy. In addition any other references from the period prior to July 2007 have been added to the timeline by PowerBase authors. PowerBase contributors may also have updated and supplemented the timeline and in such cases the entries will be fully referenced.
  2. Duncan Campbell, Ex-BNP candidate jailed for stockpiling explosives, the Guardian, 31 July 2007 - accessed 01.08.10
  3. New Director General Announced, MI5, accessed - 05/03/10
  4. Pursue, Prevent, Protect, Prepare: The United Kingdom's Strategy for Countering International Terrorism March 2009, HM Government, Part 4, Section 15, p.65 - accessed 25.03.2010.
  5. Polly Curtis and Martin Hodgson Student researching al-Qaida tactics held for six days, the Guardian, 24 May 2008, accessed 25.03.10
  6. Sam Jones Terror Arrests Timeline, the Guardian, 18 May 2009, accessed 27.05.10
  7. Sam Jones Terror Arrests Timeline, the Guardian, 18 May 2009, accessed 27.05.10
  8. UK Threat Level Raised, MI5, 22 January 2010, accessed 25.03.10
  9. Countering international terrorism: CONTEST Annual Report, Home Office: Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism, 22 March 2010, accessed 25.03.10
  10. The UK’s Strategy for Countering the use of CBRN by Terrorists, Home Office: Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism, 22 March 2010, accessed 25.03.10
  11. RICU Research, Home Office: Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism, accessed 25.03.10
  12. Karen McVeigh and Paul Lewis Airline pilot cleared of role in 9/11 after 'nine years of hell', The Guardian, 24.04.10, accessed 24.04.10.
  13. Establishment of a National Security Council,, accessed 18 May 2010
  14. Home Office Responds to Pathways Ruling, Home Office 18 May 2010, accessed 27.05.10
  15. Home Office Legislative Programme Announces, Home Office, 25 May 2010, accessed 27.05.10
  16. Identity Cards are to be Scrapped, Home Office, 27 May 2010, accessed 27.05.10
  17. Matthew Taylor, Policemen to face trial for alleged assault on terror suspect Babar Ahmad, the Guardian, 12 August 2010, accessed 13.08.10
  18. Officers summonsed, Metropolitan Police, 12 August 2010, accessed 13.08.10
  19. Address at the Worshipful Company of Security Professionals by the Director General of the Security Service, Jonathan Evans, MI5, 16 September 2010, accessed 20.09.10
  20. Six men arrested over alleged pope plot released, The Guardian, 19 September 2010, accessed 20.09.10
  21. Six men arrested over alleged pope plot released, The Guardian, 19 September 2010, accessed 20.09.10
  22. Six men released without charge, Metropolitan Police Service, 19 September 2010, accessed 20.09.10