Birmingham remains at risk of terrorist attack during the General Election according to a report from a leading insurance firm.

The annual international terrorist risk map from Insurance company Aon has identified Birmingham as being a target for terrorist attacks in the run-up to the General Election on May 5.

But the terrorist risk has not been stereotyped as coming from only radical Muslim groups.

The report also highlights the danger from nationalist and separatist groups, organised crime and single-issue organisations, such as those opposed to testing on animals.

The study, which said Britain has an "elevated" chance of a strike, ranked London at "high" risk - alongside international troublespots Baghdad, Kabul and Jerusalem and deemed Birmingham, Manchester and Belfast likely targets.

Researchers said the threat of incidents has increased in 31 countries - almost half of which are in Western Europe - and claimed six nations considered safe last year are also now in danger. Several nations which have supported the US-led occupation-Iraq, including Australia-Poland and Estonia, have had their risk rating revised upwards as a result.

A spokesmen for the firm said: "Fears that extremists might stage attacks to try to influence the UK General Election on May 5 also reinforce the UK's risk rating, which remains unchanged from last year."

"There is concern that al Qaida and other international terrorist organisations could take advantage of anti-Western sentiment and launch terrorist attacks in these countries in future.

"Businesses which originate from these countries should also be aware of threats to their operations and personnel abroad."

Dr Sean McGough, an expert on terrorism and counter terrorism at the University of Birmingham, said: "I think it is a realistic assessment because if you look at the terrorism arrests in the country the most high profile have taken place within a triangle encompassing London, Birmingham and Manchester so it is very likely that Birmingham would be a target.

"The election will be a likely target as well and a risk assessment from an insurance firm like this is more reliable than if it had been drawn up by Charles Clarke because he would be accused of having a political motivation to do so whereas these firms employ special forces people on the ground in these areas and can remain objective.

"They do not have a political axe to grind. They are basing their assessment on facts and figures only."

The Regional Resilience Team, the unit at the Government Office for the West Midlands which oversees the region's response to a terror attack, said it recognised the validity of the report but urged people not to worry.

A spokesman said: "The most significant terrorist threat to the UK is from al Qaida and its associated networks. This threat remains real and serious.

"The UK remains prepared for such incidents - the lessons of last year's Exercise Horizon can only enhance that preparedness. The analysis of the lessons learnt have been very detailed.

"Members of the public should be reassured. Exercise Horizon enabled us to test our plans in the safety of a training environment, in order that we can better improve and further develop our planning and response arrangements for the future. The lessons identified are being shared both regionally and nationally."