Posts Tagged ‘Terror Attacks’

Pakistan Executes by Hanging 3 Militants Convicted Over Terror Attacks

October 4, 2017

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s military says authorities have executed three militants sentenced to death by military courts after being convicted of carrying out terror attacks in recent years.

Image result for death by hanging in Pakistan, Photos

A statement from the military says the executions took place at a prison in the country’s northwest on Wednesday.

The executions came day after a rights group, Justice Project Pakistan, expressed concern over the multitude of executions taking place, saying that the country has sent 477 prisoners to the gallows since 2014.

The group also announced a weeklong public awareness campaign against executions ahead of World Day Against the Death Penalty, Oct. 10.

Pakistan halted executions in 2008 due to pressure from rights groups but reinstated capital punishment after the Taliban attacked a school in the city of Peshawar, killing 150 people, mostly schoolchildren.


Angela Merkel: Barcelona terrorists demonstrated ‘contempt for humanity’

August 18, 2017

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has issued a message of defiance after Thursday’s terrorist attacks in and around Barcelona, which killed 14 people and injured hundreds. Many international leaders offered condolences.

Deutschland Merkel Statement zum Barcelona Anschlag (picture-alliance/dpa/M. Kappeler)

Angela Merkel appeared as scheduled at a conservative party election campaign event in Berlin on Friday. But with the news of the attacks in and around Barcelona still fresh in everyone’s minds, she briefly offered her condolences and thoughts.

“These murderous attacks have once again demonstrated the contempt for humanity with which the Islamist terrorists proceed,” Merkel said. “We also felt in those hours how closely connected Germans, Spanish and free people around the world are.”

Click here to read about the events as they happened

Merkel said that Germans were united in their sorrow at what had happened to people, many of whom were on vacation, as they enjoyed a summer evening. Thirteen Germans were among those injured in the attacks, some of them seriously,. Germany suffered a very similar attack lack December when a terrorist drove a truck through a crowded Christmas market.

But the chancellor also offered a defiant message.

“We will not allow these murderers to deprive us of our way of life,” Merkel said. “Barcelona in particular represents so much of what makes life in the free world what it is: beauty, tolerance, joie de vivre and people from all nations and cultures coming together in peace. Terrorism can inflicted bitter and said hours upon us. But terrorism can never defeat us.”

The campaign goes on – but without music

The terrorist attacks happened as German politicians are wooing voters ahead of a national election on September 24. Merkel said that she had considered canceling the conservative CDU’s campaign events out of respect for the victims, but had decided against it.

“I came to the conclusion that elections and the weeks leading up to them are a celebration of democracy and a celebration of our liberty,” Merkel said. “The terrorists don’t understand that, but we know that our strength is freedom and respect for the rights of the individual.”

Merkel said that she had consulted with the leaders of the other political parties, including her main rival Martin Schulz of the Social Democrats (SPD), about the best response to the terrorist attacks in Spain. She added that all of Germany’s political leaders would tone down campaign events on Friday and Saturday. No music will be used, and moments of silence will commemorate the terrorism victims.

In a separate statement, Schulz said the campaign limitations were “a sign of solidarity with the victims in Spain.

At Spain’s embassy in Berlin, the Spanish and EU flags were flying at half-mast, but in the morning at least, there were no flowers, candles or messages from the public at large.

‘Democracy will break barbarism’

Spanien Madrid - Premierminister Mariano Rajoy bei Pressekonferenz (Getty Images/AFP/P.-P. Marcou)Spain’s prime minister said his country was ‘united’

After participating in a crisis meeting with other members of the Catalonian regional government, the region’s president, Carles Puigdment, said, “Catalonia will rise to the occasion to defend peace and freedom. Democracy will break barbarism.”

The region also declared three days of mourning to honor the victims.

After ensuring the public that the government was on top of tending to the injured and securing the area, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy tweeted that terrorists and barbarism will never defeat a united country that loves liberty. “All of Spain is with the victims and families.”

Los terroristas nunca derrotarán a un pueblo unido que ama la libertad frente a la barbarie. Toda España está con las víctimas y familias MR

Spain’s royal family also condemned the attacks via Twitter, calling the perpetrators assassins and criminals. “All of Spain is Barcelona. Las Ramblas will once more be for everyone.”

Son unos asesinos, simplemente unos criminales que no nos van a aterrorizar. Toda España es Barcelona. Las Ramblas volverán a ser de todos.

The Islamic Commission of Spain (UCIDE) also expressed its “emphatic condemnation and repulsion” in relation to the Barcelona attack and reiterated its full commitment to “fight against all forms of terrorism.”

The commission said it “hopes that those responsible for these attacks can be detained and brought to justice as soon as possible.”

Sympathy from beyond Spain’s borders

French Prime Minister Macron said his thoughts and the solidarity of his country were with victims of the tragic attack. “We remain united and determined,” he said. In a Spanish-language tweet issued later, he reiterated solidarity and said, “We are at your side.”

Spain’s northern neighbor has faced a number of terror attacks in the past years, including the 2016 Bastille Day attack in Nice when a man drove a truck into a crowd of people celebrating on a broad, beachside promenade killing 86 people.

US President Donald Trump also condemned the attack and extended an offer of help to Spain.

The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help. Be tough & strong, we love you!

But he drew heavy criticism for another incendiary and historically inaccurate Tweet in which he wrote that US General John J. Pershing should serve as a model for dealing with Islamist terrorists. Trump has in the past claimed that Pershing shot Muslim prisoners with bullets dipped in pig’s blood, but that claim has no basis in fact.

New threat to Britain’s railways as al-Qaeda tells supporters to derail train carriages

August 16, 2017

The Telegraph

Members of al Qaeda’s Nusra Front in Syria CREDIT: REUTERS

Al-qaeda is urging its supporters in Britain to derail a train, causing massive loss of life and “instil fear” among travellers and commuters.

Securing thousands of miles of track in the UK was “practically impossible” and attacks would cause “great damage and destruction”, the terrorist group said in an article in the group’s magazine Inspire.

The terrorist group offered to show how to make a “derail tool” and said any attacks would force Governments to impose the airport-style security measures on rail travellers.

The threat is understood to being taken seriously by British and American intelligence agencies who are said to be “working closely” to combat it.

Al Qaeda

Whitehall sources said they are increasingly concerned that travelling by rail was “one area of public transport which is worryingly yet to be exploited”.

One source said the Armed Forces were prepared to support police and ambulance…

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Al Qaeda’s propaganda magazine Inspire calls for terrorism train attacks in US, Europe

August 16, 2017

Image result for Grand central Station, photos

Pictured: Grand Central Station, New York

By Catherine Herridge
Fox News

The new edition of Al Qaeda’s online propaganda magazine, known as Inspire, calls on its followers to target trains in the US and Europe, identifying three methods of attack: the train’s compartments, derailments or assaults on stations.

However, a Department of Homeland Security bulletin reviewed by Fox News indicates there is no credible or imminent threat.

“…the TSA Office of Intelligence and Analysis (TSA-OIA) is not aware of any current or credible plots to attack transportation within the United States; however, TSA-OIA remains concerned with terrorist organizations’ efforts to conduct attacks against transportation,” the August 11 intelligence report states.

The magazine, written in English, provides step-by-step instructions, similar to previous issues that coached terrorists on homemade bombs.

The Homeland Security intelligence report continues, “The AQAP (Al Qaeda in Yemen) video serves as an important reminder that mass transit, passenger rail, and freight rail operations remain a potential target for terrorist activity. While TSA is not recommending any specific actions or countermeasures at this time, TSA does encourage operators to use this as an opportunity to remind employees of the importance of being aware of their work environment and to exercise due caution with equipment and materials that could be used to obstruct or derail trains.”

Within hours of the online magazine’s release, the New York Police Department’s Counterterrorism Bureau also sent out a series of tweets. “We’ve known about the content & threats presented in the current issue of AQAP’s Inspire 17 prior to its release….our robust multi-layered counterterrorism apparatus is designed to protect our air, land, waterways and railways,” the tweets read.

While not minimizing previous, successful rail attacks in Europe, including the 2004 coordinated Al Qaeda plot targeting Madrid, which killed nearly 200 people and injured more than 1,500, Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Michael O’Hanlon said the threat to U.S. rail networks should not be overhyped, but put in context.

“Probably the greatest vulnerability is going to be more in subway lines than in major rail lines,” O’Hanlon explained. “It’s really almost inconceivable to think of how you protect them. On the other hand, you’re generally not going to see quite the number of casualties.”

According to the Middle East Media Research Institute, or MEMRI, the same “Inspire” edition contains a chapter written by Al Qaeda in Yemen’s bomb maker, Ibrahim al-Asiri, who is most known for his work with non-metallic explosives. The Yemeni was behind the underwear bomb that nearly brought down a flight over Detroit in 2009, and a foiled plot targeting cargo planes bound for the U.S. a year later.

MEMRI said al-Asiri stressed transportation is a “prime target because attacks on them undermine public security and also cause great economic harm by scaring away tourists and investors.” The commentary may be dated because it refers to President Obama’s presidency.

As Thomas Joscelyn at the Long War Journal notes, Al Qaeda has “…intended to wear down the West, in part by driving up the costs of security and waging war. The adjustments made to airline security since the Sept. 11, 2001 hijackings have been costly. Al Qaeda’s failed attempts to bring down airliners in the years that followed have also driven costs up.”

While Al Qaeda has not abandoned the large-scale, mass-casualty attack, these have proven harder to execute. ISIS, which has shown more success with lone wolf operations, and now Al Qaeda seem to understand the impact of these small-cell plots that are so much harder to disrupt, as a top general recently explained.

“…that’s the most dangerous aspect,” Gen. Tony Thomas, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, recently told the Aspen Security Forum. “Because, if you light a match under that — hardest to see, you know, inspired people, hardest to see, certainly hard to — hardest to disrupt and eradicate from a law enforcement standpoint back home.”

Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.


As Mosul and Raqqa Appear Ready To Fall, Islamic State shifts from holding ground to its roots — Terror attacks

July 8, 2017

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Iraqi civilians fleeing the fighting in Mosul walked past a heavily damaged mosque on Tuesday, July 4, 2017 — Credit Felipe Dana – Associated Pres

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Three years ago, a black-clad cleric named Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi ascended a mosque pulpit in the Iraqi city of Mosul and addressed the world as leader of a new terrorist state.

The announcement of the so-called caliphate was a high point for the extremist fighters of the Islamic State. Their exhibitionist violence and apocalyptic ideology helped them seize vast stretches of territory in Syria and Iraq, attract legions of foreign fighters and create an administration with bureaucrats, courts and oil wells.

Now, their state is crumbling.

In Syria, American-backed militias have surrounded Raqqa, the group’s capital, and breached its historic walls. Across the border, Iraqi forces have seized the remains of the Mosul mosque where the caliphate was declared and besieged the remaining jihadists in a shrinking number of city blocks.

But the loss of its two largest cities will not spell a final defeat for the Islamic State — also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh — according to analysts and American and Middle Eastern officials. The group has already shifted back to its roots as an insurgent force, but one that now has an international reach and an ideology that continues to motivate attackers around the world.


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London Police question ‘troubled’ anti-Muslim van attacker

June 20, 2017


© AFP / by Robin MILLARD | Britain is coming to terms with the aftermath of its fourth terror attack in three months

LONDON (AFP) – Police on Tuesday questioned a man suspected of deliberately mowing down Muslims in London, as the interior minister said Britain was “bruised but not broken” by a series of terror attacks.

Britain was coming to terms with the aftermath of its fourth bloody assault in three months following Monday’s van attack on worshippers leaving the Finsbury Park Mosque in north London.

The string of attacks had “bruised but not broken the heart of this great nation”, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said.

The family of Darren Osborne, the man suspected of deliberately driving into the Muslim group, said he was “troubled”, describing his action as “sheer madness”.

Osborne, 47, a father of four from Cardiff, was arrested.

Police believe the suspect acted alone and searches were being conducted at a residential address in the Welsh capital.

Police are treating the incident as a terror attack and British Prime Minister Theresa May described it as “sickening”, vowing Monday to fight extremism in all its forms.

The attack raised fears of retaliation against Muslims after a series of deadly assaults in Britain by Islamist extremists.

One man who was already receiving first aid at the time died following the assault, while nine people were taken to hospital and two others were treated for minor injuries.

“I’m sorry that my brother has been that troubled that it has taken him to this level of troubledness,” said the suspect’s sister Nicola Osborne.

“He has just been troubled for a long time.”

His mother Christine, 72, said she screamed when she saw her son in television footage.

“My son is no terrorist — he’s just a man with problems,” The Sun newspaper quoted her as saying.

In a statement on behalf of his family, his nephew Ellis Osborne, 26, said: “We are massively shocked.

“Our hearts go out to the people who have been injured.”

His uncle was “not a racist”, he said. “It’s madness. It is obviously sheer madness.”

– Suspect saved by imam –

Londoners bearing flowers and messages of solidarity gathered late Monday at the scene of the attack, some carrying signs reading “United Against All Terror”.

Another vigil is planned for Tuesday.

The van driver was pinned down by locals before being shielded from retaliatory violence by an imam and detained by police.

The man suspected of driving the van was arrested on suspicion of “the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorism including murder and attempted murder”, police said.

London police chief Cressida Dick said the incident was “quite clearly an attack on Muslims” and promised a stepped-up police presence near mosques as the holy month of Ramadan draws to a close.

Rudd said Muslims needed to feel safe in Britain and the government was working to tackle all forms of hate crime and extremism.

“Indicative figures suggest that over half of those who experience hate because of their religion are Muslim. Any hate crime is unacceptable but this stark figure is something we will not shy away from,” she wrote in The Guardian newspaper.

“We stand with the Muslim community — you are not alone, we share your pain and we will not let you down.”

– ‘Does not remember anything’ –

One victim of Monday’s attack has no memory of what happened, according to a nephew who did not wish to be identified.

“He is bleeding out of his ear, but in general his health was stable,” he said after visiting his uncle Hamza Sharif in hospital.

“He has a fracture in his skull — but they still don’t know why the bleeding from his ear is not stopping yet,” the Somali-born man said.

Sharif “does not remember anything” of the attack and kept asking “what was wrong”.

The three previous terror attacks in recent months were all Islamist-inspired.

A car and knife attack on March 22 in London killed four pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and a police officer guarding the British parliament.

Two months later, on May 22, 22 people were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a pop concert in the northern city of Manchester.

On June 3, eight people were killed in a van and knife attack on London Bridge and nearby Borough Market.

by Robin MILLARD

French police hold 4 family members of Champs-Elysees assailant

June 20, 2017


© AFP/File | Adam Dzaziri was killed when he rammed a car loaded with guns and a gas bottle into a police van on the Champs-Elysees in Paris

PARIS (AFP) – French police have taken into custody four members of the family of a radicalised Islamist who was killed when he rammed a car loaded with guns and a gas bottle into a police van on the Champs-Elysees, a judicial source said Tuesday.


The ex-wife, brother and sister-in-law of Adam Dzaziri were detained late on Monday afternoon after police questioned them at the family home outside Paris.

The assailant’s father was also “taken into custody during the evening”, the source said.

Dzaziri was killed in Monday’s attack, but there were no other casualties.

French police secure the area on the Champs Elysees avenue after an incident in Paris (Reuters/G.Fuentes)

Sources close to the probe said he had been on France’s security watchlist since 2015 over ties to “the radical Islamist movement”.

The suspect’s father told AFP that his son “had a registered weapon, he practised shooting”. A source close to the case said the 31-year-old had a firearms permit.

There has been no claim of responsibility for the assault, which occurred just a short distance from where a jihadist shot dead a police officer two months earlier.

France remains under a state of emergency imposed after the November 2015 attacks in Paris, when Islamic State jihadists slaughtered 130 people in a night of carnage at venues across the city.

The latest attack came two days before the French government is to unveil a new anti-terrorism law, designed to allow the state of emergency to be lifted.


Paris cordons off Champs Elysees after car hits police van — Bursts into flames

June 19, 2017

BBC News

Police patrol security cordon on Champs Elysee in Paris on 19 JuneImage copyrightREUTERS

A car has crashed into a police van before bursting into flames around the Champs Elysees area of central Paris, police officials say. Reuters

The driver, who was armed, was knocked unconscious and is seriously injured, French media report.

Police say the situation is now under control, and neither law enforcement nor civilians were injured.

France is currently in a state of emergency after being hit by a wave of deadly terror attacks in recent years.

A policeman was shot dead and two others were wounded in an attack on the Champs Elysees in April, just days before the presidential election.

The national police Twitter account had earlier said (in French) that there was an “ongoing police operation”, warning people to respect the security cordon.

French media, quoting police sources, say the act was deliberate.


PARIS (AFP) – A car burst into flames after it crashed into a police van on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris on Monday, police and investigators said, adding that the driver was armed and it appeared to be a “deliberate” act.

Interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said police had pulled the driver out of the flaming vehicle and he was “very likely dead.”

Police had said earlier that the driver of the Renault Megane was “seriously injured” and “on the ground… unconscious.”

No police or bystanders were injured in the incident near the Grand Palais exhibition hall.

“Apparently, it’s a deliberate act,” a source close to the investigation said.

Anti-terrorism prosecutors have opened an investigation.

Police have closed two of the metro stations on the Champs-Elysees, a major tourist draw in the French capital.

The incident came just two months after a policeman was shot and killed on the world-renowned avenue, three days before the first round of France’s presidential election.

A note praising the Islamic State group was found next to the body of the gunman, Karim Cheurfi, in that incident.

Police later found other weapons in Cheurfi’s car including a shotgun and knives.

– String of attacks –

The incident on Monday was the latest in a string of attacks in London and Paris.

Two weeks ago jihadists used a van and knives to crush and kill eight people enjoying a night out in the British capital. Three of the victims were French.

Four days later, a hammer-wielding Algerian man was shot and wounded by police after he struck an officer on the head in front of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.

In a video found at his home, he had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.

In London on Monday, a van ploughed into a crowd of Muslims near a London mosque early on Monday, leaving one person dead and injuring 10 others in the second terror attack this month in the British capital.

France is still under a state of emergency imposed after the November 2015 attacks in Paris, when Islamic State jihadists killed 130 people in a night of carnage at venues across the city.

Previous major attacks targeted the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in January 2015 and in November that year, gunmen and suicide bombers attacked venues around Paris including the Bataclan concert hall, killing 130 people in all.


Islamic State Calls For Attacks in the United States, Europe, Russia, Australia, Iraq, Syria, Iran, and the Philippines during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan

June 14, 2017
Updated June 14, 2017, 2:20 PM

By AP, Reuters, AFP, Genalyn D. Kabiling


With its strongholds in Iraq and Syria slipping from its grasp, the Islamic State (IS) group called on followers to launch attacks in the United States, Europe, Russia, Australia, Iraq, Syria, Iran, and the Philippines during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan which began in late May.

An audio message was distributed on Monday on Islamic State’s channel on Telegram, an encrypted messaging application. It was attributed to the militant group’s official spokesman, Abi al-Hassan al-Muhajer.

The authenticity of the recording could not be independently verified, but the voice was the same as a previous audio message purported to be from the spokesman.

“O lions of Mosul, Raqqa, and Tal Afar, God bless those pure arms and bright faces, charge against the rejectionists and the apostates and fight them with the strength of one man,” said al-Muhajer. Rejectionist is a derogatory term used to refer to Shi’ite Muslims.

Members of Iranian security forces take cover during an attack on the Iranian parliament in central Tehran, Iran, June 7, 2017. Tasnim News Agency/Handout via REUTERS

“To the brethren of faith and belief in Europe, America, Russia, Australia, and others. Your brothers in your land have done well so take them as role models and do as they have done.”

With attacks in Egypt, Britain and Iran among others and a land-grab in the Philippines, the group is trying to divert attention from its losses and win over supporters around the world in the twisted competition for jihadi recruits during the Muslim holy month.

The militants insisted in their English language magazine this week that losing territory has only made it work that much harder to kill. The attacks since Ramadan’s beginning on May 26 show the sweep of the group’s ambition – from attacking the West, to expanding in the Philippines, to targeting Shiite powerhouse Iran – something al-Qaida itself never risked.

“They can say here is something that al-Qaida has refrained to do,” said Assaf Moghadam, an author and analyst of jihadi groups. “From their perspective it’s been a great Ramadan so far.”

But a powerful counter-message is emerging in recent days. With the month of fasting also a time of high television ratings in the Arab world, the telecommunications company Zain has launched a commercial that begins with footage of a man fabricating a suicide bomb. By the end, faced with bloodied victims and survivors of extremist attacks, the man stumbles and fails in his mission. “Let’s bomb delusion with the truth,” a man sings. The ad has been viewed more than 6 million times on YouTube. “We will counter their attacks of hatred with songs of love,” it ends.

The attack on Iran marked a new stage for the Islamic State group, which had threatened the Shiite-majority state repeatedly without actually striking it.

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Philippine troops in Marawi

Fight continues

The Philippine government has expressed concern over the reported Islamic State’s call for more terror attacks during the Ramadan but is still determined to quell security threats, including the raging Maute-led rebellion in Marawi City.

Government forces will continue to fight until Marawi is completely cleared of the armed groups and peace and order have been restored, Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said.

“With concern and with continued decisiveness,” Abella said in a Palace press briefing when asked about the government’s response to the ISIS threat of more attacks.

“Tuluy-tuloy po ang laban. (The fight continues). I just said, we will not stop until it’s finished,” he said about government operations to resolve the Marawi conflict.


China supports the Philippine government’s “anti-terrorism” operations against Islamist militants, the Chinese foreign ministry said Monday after US special forces provided support to Filipino troops.

The US embassy in Manila said Saturday that special forces were assisting the Philippine military with ongoing operations in the southern city of Marawi, which insurgents overran on May 23.

“Terrorism is the common enemy of mankind. China understands and firmly supports (Philippine President Rodrigo) Duterte’s leadership and its government in fighting terrorism,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular press briefing.

“We support these antiterrorism operations,” he said.

Lu was asked about China’s views on the assistance provided by Washington to the Philippine military.

“On the operations launched by the Philippine government on their territory, in principle, we welcome the constructive support of the international community, on the basis of the respect of the Philippine government’s own will, and of the Philippines’ sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Lu said.

The announcement of US help in the embattled southern region of Mindanao comes after Duterte has sought to reduce the Philippines’ reliance on the United States and build much closer ties with China and Russia.

Under Duterte, the Philippines has moved to ease tensions with Beijing over rival territorial claims in the South China Sea.


British PM loses majority, faces pressure to resign — Who is now going to control the Brexit process?

June 9, 2017
AFPJune 9, 2017
Britain’s Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called on Prime Minister Theresa May to resign after the election result (AFP Photo/JOHN THYS, Paul ELLIS)

London (AFP) – British Prime Minister Theresa May faced pressure to resign on Friday after losing her parliamentary majority, plunging the country into uncertainty as Brexit talks loom.

The pound fell sharply amid fears the Conservative leader will be unable to form a government and could even be forced out of office after a troubled campaign overshadowed by two terror attacks.

After being re-elected with an increased majority in the London commuter seat of Maidenhead, May said Britain “needs a period of stability” as it prepares for the complicated process of withdrawing from the European Union.

She said that while the full results had yet to emerge, her party seemed to have won the most seats and “it would be incumbent on us to ensure we have that period of stability”.

But Leftist opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose Labour party surged from 20 points behind, urged May to quit, saying she had “lost votes, lost support and lost confidence”.

Former Conservative minister Anna Soubry, who just held onto her seat, said May was “in a very difficult place” following a “dreadful campaign”.

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With a handful of seats still to be declared, the Conservatives were predicted to win 319 seats, down from 331 in 2015 — yet another upset in a turbulent year since the EU referendum in June 2016.

They were mathematically unable to reach the 326 mark that would give them a majority, meaning they will have to form an informal or formal alliance to forward their agenda.

Labour are expected to increase their share from 229 to 260 seats, resulting in a hung parliament.

May, a 60-year-old vicar’s daughter, is now facing questions over her judgement in calling the election three years early and risking her party’s slim but stable majority of 17.

“It is exactly the opposite of why she held the election and she then has to go and negotiate Brexit in that weakened position,” said Professor Tony Travers of the London School of Economics.

Sterling fell nearly two percent against the dollar on the back of the exit poll, as investors questioned who was now going to control the Brexit process.

Early newspaper editions reflected the drama, with headlines such as “Britain on a knife edge”, “Mayhem” and “Hanging by a thread”.

In a night that threatened to redraw the political landscape once again, the UK Independence Party (UKIP), which won 12.5 percent of the vote two years ago and was a driving force behind the Brexit vote, was all but wiped out, hovering around two percent.

The pro-European Liberal Democrats, who have campaigned for a second EU referendum, increased their number of seats from nine, but their former leader Nick Clegg lost his seat.

Meanwhile the Scottish National Party of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, which has dominated politics north of the border for a decade and called for a new independence vote after Brexit, was tipped to lose around 21 of its 54 seats.

Deputy leader Angus Robertson, one of the strongest SNP performers in the House of Commons, was an early casualty.

– ‘Pressure to resign’ –

May, who took over after last year’s Brexit referendum, began the formal two-year process of leaving the EU on March 29, promising to take Britain out of the single market and cut immigration.

Seeking to capitalise on sky-high popularity ratings, she called the election a few weeks later, urging voters to give her a stronger mandate to go into Brexit talks that are expected to begin as early as June 19.

Officials in Brussels were hopeful the election would allow her to make compromises, but this has been thrown into question by the prospect of a hung parliament.

“It creates another layer of uncertainty ahead of the Brexit negotiations,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA currency traders.

Despite campaigning against Brexit, Labour has accepted the result but promised to avoid a “hard Brexit”, focusing on maintaining economic ties with the bloc.

Barely a month ago, the centre-left party seemed doomed to lose the election, plagued by internal divisions over its direction under veteran socialist Corbyn.

But May’s botched announcement of a reform in funding for elderly care, a strong grassroots campaign by Corbyn and the terror attacks, which increased scrutiny of her time as interior minister, changed the game.


“Even if she manages to get just enough seats it will be seen as a failure and she may indeed be under pressure to resign as leader quite quickly,” said Paula Surridge, senior lecturer at the University of Bristol.

– Terror in the campaign –

Britain has been hit with three terror attacks since March, and campaigning was twice suspended.

A suicide bomber blew himself up outside a pop concert in Manchester on May 22, killing 22 people.

Last Saturday, three assailants wearing fake suicide vests mowed down pedestrians and launched a stabbing rampage around London Bridge, killing eight people before being shot dead by police.

The attacks led to scrutiny over May’s time as interior minister from 2010 to 2016, particularly since it emerged that some of the attackers had been known to police and security services.

Labour seized on steep cuts in police numbers implemented as part of a Conservative austerity programme, although May insisted she had protected funding for counter-terrorism.