U.K. Boosts Police to Tackle Gun Terror After Kenya Siege

The U.K. put more resources into training police to deal with a potential terrorist attack using firearms after attacks on the Westgate shopping center in Kenya and hostage-taking at a gas facility in Algeria.

The 2013 annual report on the government’s counter-terrorism strategy, published today, shows Home Secretary Theresa May is taking more seriously the threat of a terrorist group using guns against civilians and has extended training to “hundreds” of extra staff in the emergency services.

At least 67 people were killed in September when al-Shabaab-linked gunmen stormed Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, saying the attack was in retaliation for Kenya’s military intervention in Somalia. In Algeria, an al-Qaeda-linked group held over 800 people hostage at the An Amenas gas complex, resulting in both terrorist and hostage deaths in January of last year.

“Terrorist methods and tactics are changing,” the report said. “Our programs for responding to a terrorist attack also need to change to remain effective. We have continued to develop the capabilities required to deal with an attack by a terrorist group using firearms and intended to last for a significant length of time.”

The principal threat to the U.K. continues to come from militant Islamist terrorists, according to the report. Though some terrorist plots are developed entirely by British nationals living in the U.K, many of the threats the nation faces have significant overseas connections, particularly from groups in Syria.

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