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MI5 chief: Anti-terror efforts working

Jan. 7, 2009 at 12:51 PM

LONDON, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Britain's relentless surveillance of homegrown terror suspects is forcing al-Qaida to "keep its head down," the chief of the MI-5 spy agency says.

In the first media interview ever granted by a sitting MI-5 director, Jonathan Evans told The Times of London Britain's unceasing spying on thousands of terrorism suspects, as well as its successful prosecution of terrorism cases, is hampering efforts by al-Qaida to carry out more terror attacks on British soil.

"There have been 86 successful convictions since January 2007 of whom approaching half pleaded guilty, which has had a chilling effect on the enthusiasm of the networks," Evans told The Times. "They're keeping their heads down."

Evans said al-Qaida is still looking to recruit Islamic British citizens to its cause.

"The strategic intent of the al-Qaida core, (based) in Pakistan, is to mount attacks in the U.K., and their model is to use British nationals or residents to deliver the attacks," he told the newspaper.