UK ‘strike brigades’ to boost anti-terror plans

Britain on Monday announced plans to raise two ‘strike brigades’ comprising 5,000 personnel each for rapid deployment as Prime Minister David Cameron announced a major funding boost to counter threats posed by the Islamic State.

Cameron met France President Francois Hollande, and reiterated Britain’s determination to join pan-European efforts to counter the IS. Announcing closer Britain-France intelligence cooperation, he said in Paris: “We simply cannot afford to wait.”

In an article in The Daily Telegraph, Cameron announced billions of pounds for efforts to tackle the “poisonous ideology of Islamic extremism”. He wrote that the “bottom-line” of Britain’s strategy was a “willingness and capability” to use force.

He was due to make a major statement on international terrorism in the House of Commons on Monday, amid efforts to muster support from MPs for Britain to join air strike against IS targets (it is currently confined to drone strikes).

“Over the next decade we will invest more than £178 billion in buying and maintaining equipment—including doubling our investment in equipment to support our Special Forces. We will create two new strike brigades, forces of up to 5,000 personnel each, fully equipped to deploy rapidly and sustain themselves in the field,” Cameron wrote.

He added: ‘We will establish two additional Typhoon squadrons and an additional squadron of F35 Lightning combat aircraft to operate from our new aircraft carriers. And we will invest in nine maritime patrol aircraft to protect our nuclear deterrent, hunt down hostile submarines and enhance our maritime search and rescue”.

Britain’s current threat level from international quarters is set at ‘Severe’, which means an attack is highly likely. Official sources say several Britons had travelled to Syria in recent months and returned home.