Al-Qaeda plot to murder family of sniper soldier
EXCLUSIVE by Rupert Hamer, Defence Correspondent
British-based al-Qaeda fanatics threatened to kill a soldier’s family after learning his sniper team had killed 32 Taliban.
Armed police were sent to his home after anti-terrorism officers uncovered the plot to murder his parents.
The plans came to light when the security services monitored “chatter” – believed to be on mobile phones or the internet – between al-Qaeda extremists.
It is the second time a soldier or his loved ones are known to have been targeted in the UK by groups linked to al-Qaeda.
The chilling threats came after the serviceman was praised in reports in the media for his skills during a tour in Afghanistan.
The soldier, in his 20s and from Scotland, is a “spotter” who has been working alongside a crack marksman in one of the Army’s highly-skilled two-man sniper teams.
He and his colleague were hailed heroes for gunning down 32 Taliban fighters in Helmand Province. The Sunday Mirror is not identifying him for his and his family’s safety.
Police investigating the threats were sent to his home fearing al-Qaeda sympathisers were on the verge of brutally attacking his relatives in twisted retaliation for his military service.
It is feared they planned to film the raid and post the footage on a jihad website.
Sniper teams – who play a vital role in killing off key Taliban commanders – are now being warned not give their details to the public.
A senior security source told the Sunday Mirror: “The threat was credible and imminent.
“The family of this soldier were deliberately targeted. The threats came from a terrorist Muslim group based in Britain.
“Disturbingly they had traced the soldier’s family home. There is now real concern over revealing the details of snipers. Their activities appear to incite more reaction among radicalised Muslims in Britain than regular soldiers.”
It is not known whether the group behind the threats was traced and identified by our security services or police.
The revelation follows a plot by an al-Qaeda cell in Birmingham to kidnap a soldier and behead him on the internet in 2007.
The six-man terror group was led by Paviz Khan, a 37-year-old father-of-three, who planned to kidnap a Muslim soldier and post a film on the internet of him being executed to try to deter other Muslims from joining the Army.
The plan was thwarted after a year-long surveillance operation by MI5 and members of the West Midlands counter-terrorist unit.
Khan was later jailed for life.
Last night the MoD did not want to comment about the latest plot because of security concerns.