Two Western officials have said in newspaper reports that they suspect the terror network responsible for the November 13 attacks in Paris has links to people in Britain.
The Wall Street Journal quoted the officials in a report Friday as saying that several people in the Birmingham area were suspected of having connections with the alleged leader of the massacre, Islamic State militant Abdelhamid Abaaoud.
At least one person linked to the attacks is believed to have traveled to the U.K. before the shootings, the officials told the Journal. London’s Metropolitan Police, the lead service on counterterror issues in Britain, declined to comment on the report.
Abaaoud, a Belgian national of Moroccan descent, is believed to have visited London and traveled 190 kilometers north to Birmingham earlier this year and met with people in both cities suspected of having the intention and capability to plot or assist in terrorist activity against Britain, The Guardian reported.
Abaaoud died in a raid by French police days after the attacks, in which 130 people were killed at a concert hall, restaurants and a soccer stadium.
The terrorism threat level in Britain is currently “severe," which means officials believe an attempt is highly likely.
The Journal also quoted a U.S. official as saying that many European countries, "including the U.K., are justifiably concerned about the possibility of follow-on terror attacks after the tragedy in Paris and remain on high alert.” The official also said that “this is heightened by the fact that law enforcement and security agencies are still seeking to identify and roll up terrorist networks that may be connected.”
Of 11 people suspected in the series of attacks in Paris, nine are dead and two are on the run.