Britain today raised its terror threat alert from “substantial” to “severe” level, implying that a terror attack in the country is “highly likely” as major heads of state are set to gather here for a high-profile conference on Afghanistan next week.

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna would join top leaders from the US, NATO, Afghanistan and Pakistan for the conference to be held on January 28 at Lancaster Gate, London.

According to sources, there has been discussions throughout yesterday relating to intelligence suggesting a “possible spectacular attack” by an al-Qaeda affiliated group.

At the same time another source said it was a “precautionary” measure. The measure was approved by the Government’s Cobra emergency committee.

Home Secretary Alan Johnson said the change is in response to the perceived increased threat from international terrorism following the failed Detroit airliner bombing on Christmas Day.

He, however, stressed that there was no intelligence to suggest a terrorist attack was imminent. The decision to raise the threat level was made by the UK’s Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC).

“We still face a real and serious threat to the UK from international terrorism, so I would urge the public to remain vigilant and carry on reporting suspicious events to the appropriate authorities and to support the police and security services in their continuing efforts to discover, track and disrupt terrorist activity,” Mr. Johnson said.

More In: International | News