What does the Israel-Hamas war mean for security in the UK?

Surge in hate crimes amid pro-Palestinian marches and threat of Iran interference has put security chiefs on alert

Protesters march with Palestinian flags and pro-Palestine placards during the demonstration in London
Nearly 100 arrests have been made in London since the conflict broke out, amid mass pro-Palestinian demonstrations
(Image credit: Vuk Valcic/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty)

Rishi Sunak has told security forces to prepare for a terrorist attack in the UK, amid fears that the intensifying Israel-Hamas war could provoke further hate crimes or be exploited by rogue states.

Ministers held an emergency Cobra committee meeting on Monday with national security officials and police, the first such meeting since the Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October. The prime minister asked officials to "prepare for and mitigate against the risk of incidents", in the wake of spiralling violence and an escalation in Israeli retaliation. Sources said Sunak asked police and MI5 to conduct "tabletop exercises to simulate our response to potential public order and counter terror scenarios", the Daily Mail reported.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us

Harriet Marsden is a writer for The Week, mostly covering UK and global news and politics. Before joining the site, she was a freelance journalist for seven years, specialising in social affairs, gender equality and culture. She worked for The Guardian, The Times and The Independent, and regularly contributed articles to The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The New Statesman, Tortoise Media and Metro, as well as appearing on BBC Radio London, Times Radio and “Woman’s Hour”. She has a master’s in international journalism from City University, London, and was awarded the "journalist-at-large" fellowship by the Local Trust charity in 2021.