Terrorists could use bomb-loaded drones to attack PM’s car – Oxford study

© Francois Lenoir
Extremists who want to target high profile individuals, public spaces or power stations could use drones bought in high street shops, a report has warned.

The Oxford Research Group examined more than 200 drones, concluding the toys could be fashioned into airborne missiles by attaching explosives. This means terrorists could target, with great precision, major events or even the prime minister’s car.

“The UK government, police, military and security services will need to introduce countermeasures to reduce or mitigate the risk of commercially available drones being used for attack,” the security think tank warned.

“Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL] is reportedly obsessed with launching a synchronized multi-drone attack on large numbers of people in order to recreate the horrors of 9/11.”

The think tank called for a licensing system on drone ownership, and the development of anti-drone technology, such as lasers and radio jammers, to protect targets.

They also suggest giving authorities permission to shoot down drones if they appear to be posing a threat.

The report examined incidents where civilian drones have interrupted major events, including the football match between Albania and Serbia in July 2015, which was halted due to a drone flying the Albanian flag.

The warning comes as Britain intensifies its military action against IS in Iraq and Syria. The PM’s office announced on Monday that the RAF had used Brimstone missiles to hit IS targets for the first time in the campaign.

The bombings on Sunday targeted an IS vehicle and tunnels near the town of Raqqa, the group’s main center. British tornado jets also struck the Omar oilfield in the east near the Iraqi border, dropping three Brimstone missiles.

“As part of the wider coalition campaign against Daesh [IS], Royal Air Force aircraft have targeted the terrorists with Brimstone missiles near Raqqa in Syria and have conducted further airstrikes in Iraq,” Downing Street said in a statement.

“It was judged that for these type [sic] of targets that was the weaponry needed and they deployed it.”

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the UK is “playing a key role” in the fight against IS, but critics of military action say continuing the bombing campaign will intensify the threat of a terrorist attack on British soil.