Christmas under threat as lone wolf terror attacks 'highly likely' following Poppy Day hospital bombing

CHRISTMAS is under threat from lone wolf terror attacks, security officials fear.

Spy chiefs say it is “highly likely” fanatics will attempt atrocities in the wake of the Poppy Day hospital bomb bid.

Yesterday, they raised the terror risk in the UK from “substantial” to “severe” — amid warnings that crowded places such as festive markets could be targeted.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the decision was taken because Sunday’s strike was “the second in a month”.

It followed the slaying of Tory MP Sir David Amess at a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on October 15.

Boris Johnson said the car blast at Liverpool Women’s Hospital was “a stark reminder of the need for us all to remain utterly vigilant”.

But the job of the security services’ has been made much harder by an increase in lone wolf attackers not on watch lists or known to MI5.

Last month, The Sun revealed Britain’s spy front line was at “breaking point” trying to keep tabs on thousands of newly-radicalised fanatics amid stretched budgets.

Dr Dan Lomas, Lecturer in intelligence and security studies at Brunel University, said: “Someone who might not seem to pose a risk today, might suddenly decide to carry out an attack tomorrow.”

Rings of steel have been put around Christmas markets in the past to foil vehicle attacks.

In 2017, terror fears led to increased security at Winter Wonderland in London’s Hyde Park.

Earlier this year, MI5 boss Ken McCallum said: “Our job is to deal with a one in a million case. Where the living room is a terrorist living room.”

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