London police hone response to militant attack in huge exercise

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NTP: Britain Counterterrorism Drill
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London police hone response to militant attack in huge exercise
A woman playing the role of a wounded victim is helped by a member of the police as they take part in exercise Strong Tower, a counter-terror exercise held in and around the disused London Underground station at Aldwych in central London on June 30, 2015. British police today launched a major counter-terror exercise in London partly influenced by the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris in January, just days after an Islamist gun massacre in Tunisia. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman playing the role of a wounded victim lies on the ground as she takes part in exercise Strong Tower, a counter-terror exercise held in and around the disused London Underground station at Aldwych in central London on June 30, 2015. British police today launched a major counter-terror exercise in London partly influenced by the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris in January, just days after an Islamist gun massacre in Tunisia. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the police walk as they take part in exercise Strong Tower, a counter-terror exercise held in and around the disused London Underground station at Aldwych in central London on June 30, 2015. British police today launched a major counter-terror exercise in London partly influenced by the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris in January, just days after an Islamist gun massacre in Tunisia. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
A man playing the role of a wounded victim is helped by a member of the emergency services as they take part in exercise Strong Tower, a counter-terror exercise held in and around the disused London Underground station at Aldwych in central London on June 30, 2015. British police today launched a major counter-terror exercise in London partly influenced by the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris in January, just days after an Islamist gun massacre in Tunisia. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
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LONDON (Reuters) -- Police and emergency services took part in the biggest counter-terrorism drill held in London to date on Tuesday, with about 1,000 officers testing their response to a potential militant attack on the British capital.

Britain is already on a state of high alert following an attack by a gunman at Tunisian holiday resort last week which killed 39 people, most of them British tourists.

The two-day exercise was planned before that, following attacks in Paris in January in which Islamist gunmen killed 17 people in a rampage, a government spokesman said.

But following the Tunisia violence, the government has warned the public that attempts to stage an attack in Britain were possible.

Most of the drill will take place out of public view in several locations across London. But reporters saw about half a dozen armed police officers, some clutching shields, entering a disused underground station in central London to hunt down "terrorists" as gun shots rang out on Tuesday morning.

Other personnel could be seen treating injured "victims" on a pavement.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner of London's Metropolitan Police, Maxine de Brunner, told Reuters the scale of exercise, was larger than anything undertaken previously in the capital.

It involved London's transport authority, local government and the Ministry of Defence and will see the government's emergency Cobra committee convened.

Prime Minister David Cameron told parliament on Monday the training exercise would "test and refine the UK's preparedness for dealing with a serious terrorist attack".

It also takes place a week before the 10th anniversary of the suicide bombings on London's transport network by four British Islamists which killed 52 people.

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