The leader of Isis (Islamic State) is planning a fresh wave of terror attacks against Britain and other European countries in revenge for the crushing defeats the group has suffered in Iraq and Syria, a leading Iraqi intelligence official has warned.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Isis's self-proclaimed caliphate in Iraq and Syria, is said to be organising a number of "sophisticated attacks" against Western targets to boost the morale of jihadi fighters, after a series of defeats in Mosul and Raqqa.
Lahur Talabani, the head of Kurdish intelligence who has been heavily involved in the military campaign to liberate Mosul from Isis control, said a new generation of Islamist terror groups could emerge in Iraq if the country does not undertake radical political reform.
"Isis has lost a lot of land in Iraq and Syria, but this is not the end of Isis," said Talabani, 41, during a visit to London, where he is having a series of meetings with officials and ministers, including Sir Michael Fallon, Britain's Defence Secretary.
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Talabani said he estimated 500 British jihadists were fighting with Isis at the height of the so-called caliphate's influence in Iraq and Syria, but most had died during the US-led coalition's military campaign.
As a result al-Baghdadi, who Talabani said is still alive and probably hiding in the desert along the Syrian and Iraqi borders, is keen to launch a new wave of terrorist attacks against Britain and other Western countries.
"We are going to see a lot more attacks on the West that are designed to boost the morale of the fighters," said Talabani. "They are trying to do attacks that will get them publicity."
Talabani said the Kurds and other Iraqi fighters were grateful for the military support they had received from the US, Britain and other coalition forces in the battle against Isis.
"Their backing meant it was too much for Isis to handle," he said.
But he warned that, as the military campaign against Isis began to wind down, it was important that countries like Britain continued to support the Iraqi Government as it undertook the painful process of rebuilding the country after more than a decade of conflict.
In particular it was important the Shia-dominated Government of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi reconciled the leaders of the Sunni tribes, many of whom have supported Isis because they believed they were poorly represented in Baghdad.