COUNTER terror experts are targeting schools feared to have been infiltrated by Islamic fundamentalists using Wales as a base for recruitment.
The move comes after the country was identified as having a “very real” threat of terrorist activity.
Experts fear that extremists view Wales as a safe haven compared with London for would-be terrorists.
A leaked “restricted report” called the Wales Contest plan exposes growing radicalisation in Cardiff and proposes extra training in how to spot extremism for staff at schools “identified as having increased risks” of radicalism.
In December 2010, Cardiff brothers Abdul Miah, 25, and Gurukanth Desai, 30, along with Omar Sharif Latif, were arrested after planning a Mumbai-style attack on the London Stock Exchange. They were eventually jailed for a total of 40 years.
Last year Idris Faridi, 32, of Roath, Cardiff, was jailed for nine months after a “terrorist’s manual” called 39 Ways To Serve And Proceed In Jihad was discovered on his computer’s hard drive. He had applied to work at the Millennium Stadium during the Olympic Games.
A Welsh Government spokesman said last night: “In Wales, we work with a wide range of partners from across the public sector to raise awareness of issues relating to extremism and to improve community cohesion.
“As in England, this work includes education sessions for teachers and staff, undertaken by police ‘engagement officers’, which enables any potential issues to be identified and dealt with quickly.”
Last week a new report by Europol found that the number of terrorist acts and related arrests rose across Europe in 2012, bucking a downward trend in previous years.
The report revealed there were 219 terrorist attacks across Europe in 2012, compared with 174 in 2011.
The number of people arrested for terror-related offences also rose to 537, from 484 in the previous year.
Meanwhile Europol director Rob Wainwright revealed that increasing numbers of radicalised EU citizens have travelled to regions of conflict to take part in terrorist activities.
He said: “There is growing concern about the threat posed by these people, given the possibility of their returning to the European Union intent on committing acts of terrorism.”
Examples included suspected Chechen terrorist Eldar Magomedov, who was freed last month after being arrested and accused of plotting to blow up a Gibraltar shopping centre during the Olympics. Spanish investigators believe that Magomedov, a Soviet special services veteran, fellow Chechen Mohamed Ankari Adamov and Turk Cengiz Yalcin were planning to fly a model plane laden with explosives into a crowded shopping street.
Magomedov is described as a highly trained expert in making car bombs, carrying out attacks with aircraft and in trains and underground rail systems. He is said to have honed these skills at Al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan and is understood to have been sent to Europe to become Al Qaeda’s continental “military chief”.
Last month Spain’s National Court ruled that although the Chechens were still suspected of being members of a terrorist group and having possessed explosives, there was insufficient evidence to secure a conviction. They are expected to be expelled to Russia. Yalcin, who was released on bail, could still face charges.
Fernando Reinares, a former senior anti-terrorism adviser to the Spanish government, said evidence uncovered so far shows that this was not “an independent homegrown radicalised cell”.
He said that instead: “This is a local facilitator and two operatives coming from abroad on a mission with a connection to Al Qaeda.” Reinares, now a terror expert with the Elcano Royal Institute in Madrid, said the case highlighted how organised cells with links to known groups are still dangerous.
“The whole story is very serious. It shows they were trying most likely to target something from the air.”
The release of the men came just over two weeks before Chechen brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev planted the Boston Marathon bombs.