A BRISTOL shopping centre was “just hours away” from a major terrorism attack, it has been revealed by Avon and Somerset Police.
Andrew Ibrahim was jailed for preparing terrorist attacks following a tip-off from a member of the Bristol Muslim community.
Officers visited Ibrahim’s flat in Westbury-on-Trym in 2009, where they found viable explosives that he intended to detonate at a Bristol shopping centre.
In a recent interview with ITV West Country, Detective Chief Inspector Matt Iddon has spoken out about how Bristol came close to experiencing an atrocity.
He said: “Ibrahim was within a couple of hours of being able to put the suicide note together, to wrap the shrapnel around the explosive and then go to the shopping centre and conduct the attack he had prepared.”
“Had it not been for that one call from that member of the Bristol Muslim community, I have no doubt that an atrocity would have taken place.”
The operation to stop Ibrahim was one of the biggest Avon and Somerset has ever carried out, and was the first time that a local police force led a counter terrorism investigation.
DCI Iddon explained that the case shows how the public should alert the police of any suspicious behaviour.
He said: “Without that call from a member of the mosque Ibrahim attended the outcome would most likely have been entirely different.
“Ibrahim intended to carry out explosions which would have led to mass fatalities, so that single phone call undoubtedly saved many lives.”
He added: “The importance of the information provided to us by the community, particularly in terrorism-related cases, cannot be understated.
“The public are one of our most vital assets and without their eyes and ears acting on our behalf we would not be half as effective as we are in preventing criminality of all types.”
Details of the Ibrahim case are now being broadcast in a new podcast as a part of a campaign to prevent atrocities.
‘Code Severe’ is a two-part series, narrated by actor Mark Strong, that reveals previously untold stories of how terrorist attacks on UK soil were prevented.
The podcasts give accounts of police action to protect the public, as told by counter terrorism detectives including Avon and Somerset Detective Chief Inspector Matt Iddon.
More information on what to look out for and how to contact police can be found here or by calling police confidentially on 0800 789321.