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Britain foiled seven terror plots: Cameron

British security services have prevented about seven terror attacks from being carried out since June. Prime Minister David Cameron has announced a strengthening of security services.

"Our security and intelligence services have stopped something like seven attacks in the last six months, albeit attacks planned on a smaller scale," Cameron told BBC Radio 4 from the G-20 summit in Turkey.

"That's one of the reasons we are strengthening the security and intelligence services," he added.

The UK will boost its security and intelligence staff by 1,900, or 15 percent, in response to the Paris attacks, Cameron announced at the G-20. The new officers will be attached to MI5 and MI6 spy agencies and GCHQ eavesdropping agency.

The UK also plans to double spending on aviation safety after a suspected "Islamic State" bomb blew up a Russian passenger plane earlier this month in Egypt.

Steps to be taken include a review of aviation safety procedures and airports, especially in the Middle East and where a high number of British citizens travel. British experts will be sent to conduct regular assessments of airports around the world.

Warned of attacks

Cameron said security services have been warned and prepared for Paris style coordinated attacks, which killed 129 people.

"We have been aware of these cells operating in Syria that are radicalizing people in our own countries, potentially sending people back to carry out attacks," Cameron said.

The British government estimates that at least 700 of its citizens have joined IS in Syria and Iraq, prompting the government last year to raise its security threat level to "severe." The designation, the second highest, means authorities consider a terrorist attack to be highly likely. The security threat level was not raised following the Paris attack.

He added that since the United Kingdom is not part of the passport free Schengen Zone Britain would still be able to control its borders, which he said provides an extra layer of security in stopping potential terror attacks.

cw/jil (AFP, Reuters)

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