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MI5 takes charge of online terror tips

Secret agency steps out of the shadows

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MI5, Britain's internal security and counter-espionage agency, is to play a greater role in informing the UK public about terror alerts.

The agency will next year set up a web site dedicated to informing the UK public about terrorism threats. This will replace a Home Office site as the hub of government anti-terrorism activities online, Reuters reports.

Currently, the MI5 site refers surfers to the Home Office portal for information on terrorism threats.

MI5 director-general Eliza Manningham-Buller recently said the agency needs to "engage the public" more about security threats.

Since last weekend, the UK has been placed in its second highest state of alert, following warnings of increased risk of attack from Al-Qaeda supporters on British soil.

The internal "severe general" alert is reportedly unconnected to US President Bush's state visit to Britain this week. Internal alerts are for the police and security service reference only and not normally publicised. ®

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