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Westminster on Mumbai-style terror attack alert after Al Qaeda threat
11-16-2010, 12:19 PM,
Westminster on Mumbai-style terror attack alert after Al Qaeda threat
Quote:MPs have been told to prepare themselves for a Mumbai-style terrorist attack on the Palace of Westminster.

Politicians and staff in the Houses of Parliament have been instructed to try to evacuate the buildings if there is a terrorist raid rather than barricading themselves in their offices.

The contingency planning comes after it emerged that Al Qaeda gunmen had planned to emulate the Mumbai attacks on European and American soil.

A co-ordinated raid by gun-toting commandos on the Indian city in November 2008 left 166 dead after dragging on for four violent days.

More lives would have been saved if the victims had tried to evade their captors, police said.

An email has been circulated to staff by the Commons’ most senior official, the Serjeant at Arms Jill Pay, and her counterpart in the Lords, the acting Black Rod, Ted Lloyd-Jukes.

The plan has been drawn up with the Metropolitan Police.

The email said: ‘The latest police advice is that an effective contingency plan should concentrate on evacuating members, staff and visitors out of the estate and away from danger as quickly as possible.

‘Locating, containing and neutralising the threat will be a role for armed police officers.’

Evacuation maps will not be issued, however. The email continued: ‘Prescriptive directions for the parliamentary estate are impossible to devise.’

A House of Commons spokesman said: ‘We have contingency plans to cover a range of emergencies, of which this [an armed raid] is one. It does not relate to a specific threat.’
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