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MI5 Chief Says 34 Terror Plots Disrupted in U.K. Since Mid-2005

MI6 Head John Sawers
Iain Lobban, the director of Britain’s listening post, Government Communications Headquarters, will appear alongside Andrew Parker, director general of MI5, the domestic security service, and the head of MI6, the overseas intelligence agency, John Sawers, the committee said in a statement. Photographer: Carl Court/AFP via Getty Images

A total of 34 terrorist plots have been disrupted in the U.K. since the July 2005 bombings in London, the head of the domestic security service said.

“There have been persistent attempts of attacks of terrorism in this country,” Andrew Parker, the director general of the agency known as MI5, told Parliament’s cross-party Intelligence and Security Committee in London today. “A small number have failed because they just failed, the plans didn’t come together, but the vast majority were foiled.”

One or two of the plots that have failed each year were aimed at causing mass casualties, Parker said, adding that the “vast majority” emanated from British residents.

Parker and his colleagues from Britain’s two other spy agencies -- Iain Lobban, the director of the Government Communications Headquarters listening post and the head of MI6, the overseas intelligence agency, John Sawers -- were being questioned by lawmakers for the first time in public today.

The killing of a 25-year-old soldier outside a London barracks in May was the first attack to be treated as a terrorist incident in several years. Two men will go on trial accused of that murder later this month. In 2005, 52 people died after four Islamist suicide bombers set off explosions on underground trains and a bus in central London during the morning rush hour.

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