Police warned Brit extremists are being drawn back to Syria to join Islamic terror networks as jihadi bride Shamima Begum lost her bid to return to the UK.
Head of counter-terrorism Matt Jukes said a growing number of jihadists were being detected travelling to the Middle East despite Islamic State losing its grip on the region.
Islamist terrorism is still considered the greatest threat to the British public, he said.
READ MORE: ISIS bride Shamima Begum loses crucial legal appeal to be allowed to return to the UK
"At the latter part of last year it felt to me we were starting to engage again with threats that we were more familiar with,'' he said.
"We are starting to see indications of interest in attack-planning among overseas groups, attack-planning in Europe, and in some cases that has been sparked by instability in their own parts of the world – places such as Afghanistan and Syria or parts of Africa.
"Our own casework is starting to show a renewed interest in travel to places of past conflicts and financial arrangements being made across borders – money and people moving for the purpose of terrorism again.''
On Wednesday (February 22) it was announced Begum, now 23, had lost her legal challenge to have her British citizenship restored.
She fled the UK at 15 to join the Islamic State in Syria and had her citizenship revoked when she resurfaced in a refugee camp in 2019.
Begum claimed the decision was wrong – arguing MI5 mistakenly believed she remained a threat to the public and claiming she was trafficked for sexual exploitation.
Special Immigration Appeals Commission judges rejected her plea leaving her languishing in al-Roj camp in northern Syria.
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The commission said there had been "arguable breaches" of safeguarding duties by Brit authorities in permitting her to leave the UK and "credible suspicion" that she had been trafficked.
But there was "considerable force" in the Government’s argument Begum travelled to Isis voluntarily, a fact that was "as stark as it is sympathetic", they said.
It said it could not overrule the Government’s conclusion that Begum posed such a threat that she should not be allowed to return.
A Home Office spokesman said it was "pleased" by the decision, adding: "The Government’s priority remains maintaining the safety and security of the UK and we will robustly defend any decision made in doing so.''
Amnesty International described it as a "very disappointing decision", with its refugee and migrant rights director Steve Valdez-Symonds saying: "The power to banish a citizen like this simply shouldn’t exist in the modern world, not least when we’re talking about a person who was seriously exploited as a child.''
He said Isis was responsible for appalling crimes but that did not change the fact Begum was a Brit who had been groomed and trafficked.
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