ISIS and other major terrorist groups are planning to hijack aircrafts as they aim to carry out another major attack similar to 9/11, a top US security official has said.

Donald Trump’s acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke, said jihadists were using crude knife and van attacks to keep their terrorist members engaged and their finances flowing as they plot another ‘massive explosion’ similar to the September 2001 attacks.

Ms Duke was speaking at the US Embassy in London and said: “The terrorist organisations, be it ISIS or others, want to have the big explosion like they did on 9/11. They want to take down aircraft, the intelligence is clear on that.

“However, in the interim, they need to keep their finances flowing and they need to keep their visibility high and they need to keep their members engaged, so they are using small plots and they are happy to have small plots.”

She added: “Creating terror is their goal. A bladed weapon attack causes terror and continues to disrupt the world but that does not mean they have given up on a major aviation plot.”

When Miss Duke was asked how the US is tackling the threat of another 9/11 style terror acctack, she said: ‘We have worked on some strong measures that we can’t talk about. We are trying to play the away game and that is working against them in their terrorist safe havens and homes.

‘We do have some terrorist groups on the move, you just saw the take-over of Raqqa and so if we can keep them declining and moving they have less time to sit and prepare.’

A total of 2,996 people were killed in the 9/11 terror attack masterminded by Osama Bin Laden when planes were hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington.

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