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22 May 17. Manchester Terrorist Attack: OP TEMPERER. Police responded at 22.33hrs on 22 May 17 to reports of an explosion at the Manchester Arena near the city centre. A terrorist improvised explosive device had been detonated killing 22 people (in addition to the attacker) and injuring 59. The Prime Minister confirmed (23 May 17) the decision of the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre to raise the threat level from ‘severe’ to ‘critical’, stating that “their assessment is not only that an attack remains highly likely, but that a further attack may be imminent”. In addition, the Head of National Counter-Terrorism Policing requested support from the military to be deployed alongside the Police under OP TEMPERER.
Confirming arrangements for OP TEMPERER the Defence Secretary said (25 May 17): “At the request of the Police, we moved swiftly to deploy nearly 1,000 Armed Forces personnel from across the Army, Navy and RAF
to conduct basic static guarding duties. This is freeing up an extra 1,000 armed Police Officers to patrol the streets and protect the public.” Within London the military has been deployed to guard key locations, including: Buckingham Palace, Downing Street, the Palace of Westminster, Embassies and High Commissions.
On 27 May 17 the Prime Minister confirmed the decision to reduce the threat level from ‘critical’ back to ‘severe’ but OP TEMPERER would remain in force through the weekend until midnight on 29 May 17.
Comment: OP TEMPERER is the name given to the mobilisation plan for military support to the Police following a major terrorist attack. Within this arrangement, deployed military personnel work under Police operational command. The initial phase of OP TEMPERER allows for up to 3,800 military personnel to be mobilised in support of the Police within 12 to 96 hours of a terrorism incident occurring in the UK. The last time the UK threat level was raised to ‘critical’ was in 2007, following an attempted car bombing of Glasgow Airport on 30 Jun 07.
Following the publication of leaked information in the US media, the passing of UK intelligence to the US on the Manchester terrorist incident was temporarily suspended. The National Police Chiefs’ Council issued a statement (25 May 17) confirming that intelligence sharing had been reinstated, noting that: “having received fresh assurances, we are now working closely with our key partners around the world including all those in the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence alliance.” (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/20, 29 May 17)
22 May 17. Iraq and Syria: OP SHADER. On 15 May 17 Tornados and Typhoons provided extensive support to Iraqi forces in Mosul, striking nine targets. On 17 May 17 Typhoons attacked mortar teams in Syria as Tornados destroyed a tank in North West Iraq and a Daesh position in Mosul. Tornados and Typhoons attacked three terrorist positions in West Mosul on 18 May 17. On the following day Tornados attacked seven Daesh targets in Mosul as Typhoons bombed a group of extremists East of Raqqa. On 20 May 17 Typhoons hit a Daesh-held building in East Syria as Tornados attacked two further positions in Mosul. On 21 May 17 Typhoons destroyed a weapons stockpile near Raqqa as Tornados accounted for a sniper and a heavy machine-gun in Mosul. (MoD, 22 May 17.)
Comment: Three flights of RAF Tornado and Typhoon aircraft were involved in operations on 15 May 17. As well as conducting tactical reconnaissance, the RAF provided support to Iraqi troops “engaged in very close combat with Daesh.” (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/20, 29 May 17)
25 May 17. NATO: Heads of State and Government Meeting. NATO leaders met (25 May 17) in Brussels for discussions which mainly focused on the issues of ‘terrorism’ and Alliance ‘burden-sharing’. As part of the fight against terrorism, NATO agreed