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US feared 26/11 style attack in UK: WikiLeaks

The US felt that Britain made "little progress" in reaching out to Muslim communities despite investing "considerable time and resources" and feared that a Mumbai style attack could be launched in the UK, according to secret American cables released by WikiLeaks.

world Updated: Dec 14, 2010 17:09 IST

The US felt that Britain made "little progress" in reaching out to Muslim communities despite investing "considerable time and resources" and feared that a Mumbai style attack could be launched in the UK, according to secret American cables released by WikiLeaks. The cables published by 'The Guardian' on Tuesday present a powerful critique of the UK government's efforts to engage with British Muslims.

"Since 7/7 (bombings of 2005), Her Majesty's Government (HMG) has invested considerable time and resources in engaging the British Muslim community," a diplomat at the US Embassy in London wrote in August, 2006 after the failed liquid bomb plot to blow up transatlantic airliners. "The current tensions demonstrate just how little progress has been made." US fears that Britain was struggling to deal with extremism -- outlined a year after the 7/7 bombings -- were highlighted in the wake of a recent terror attack in Sweden.

According to 'The Guardian' report, the challenge of confronting extremists is highlighted in US Embassy cables, which warned of British Somalis returning to the UK after indulging in "jihadi tourism". In a cable dated December 2, 2009, a diplomat at the US Embassy in Nairobi wrote: "There is believed to be a certain amount of so called 'jihadi tourism' to southern Somalia by UK citizens of Somali ethnicity. The threat from Somalia is compounded by the fact that within East Africa there is a lack of local government recognition of the terrorist threat."

Separate cables published by WikiLeaks show that prominent British Muslims were highly critical of initiatives introduced by the British government in response to the 7/7 bombings. The cables also spoke of concerns that a "Mumbai style attack" could be launched in Britain, the paper reported.