Monday, July 18, 2016

17 year old Afghan refugee attacks people in a train in Germany.

Emergency crews respond to the stabbing near Wuerzburg. Reuters. 

A 17 year old Afghan refugee was shot by German police after attacking people on a train in Wuezburg. Reuters. The attacker, armed with a knife and an ax, critically injured 3 people and slightly wounded a fourth. German officials did not speculate about the motive for the attack. They did note that the 17 year old was an unaccompanied immigrant from Afghanistan who had been granted asylum. The attack comes right after a major terrorist attack in France that killed more then 80 people. German media have reported that the attacker yelled "Allahu Akbar", a common religious battle-cry for Islamic terrorists. Though a center of the immigration crisis, Germany has so far avoided the major terror attacks that have struck throughout Europe. 

My Comment:
The situation in Europe is spiraling out of control. This is fairly obviously an Islamic terrorist attack, most likely inspired by ISIS. Germany is downplaying the accusations but it seems obvious the connection is there. After all this was a kid from Afghanistan who shouted Allahu Akbar. If he had another motive I would be surprised. 

Of course this story isn't really getting the coverage it deserves in the United States. I kind of had to look fairly hard to even see this story. Part of that is because we have our own problems in the United States, since the Baton Rouge attack just happened. Part of it also is because of the GOP convention which is dominating the news. The Turkey coup and the Nice attack in France are also overshadowing the story. In short, the news cycle is insane right now, so some important stories won't get covered.

That being said, I also think part of it is because the attack goes against the "migrants are harmless victims who will never do anything wrong" narrative. This is a clear case of that not being true so I am not surprised that it isn't getting much play in the United States. Indeed, the story wasn't trending on my Facebook feed. It was trending on Twitter for awhile but all it said was "Afghan" without any context at all. That may have changed over time or may be because of my user settings but it is still ridiculous. I am not sure how German media is handling the story, but given their complacency in the past and the government's censorship of anti-migrant viewpoints, my guess is that the story is going to be covered up as much as possible. 

The good news is that the attack largely failed. So far nobody died besides the attacker. I guess it is possible that one of the injured people could still die but if that doesn't happen this attack was a failure. In that the German people were lucky. An ax/knife attack like this has the potential to kill several people and it i was only by luck that nobody besides the attacker died. 

This incident is yet another example of a lone wolf attack. In most cases these attacks end up with just a few people hurt. But we have to remember that the Pulse nightclub shooting and the Nice truck attack were not organized terror attacks either. The perpetrators were lone wolfs acting on their own after the call for these kinds of attacks by ISIS. There certainly is potential for dozens of people to die in an attack carried out by one person.

The casualties caused by these attacks depends on how much resources the attacker has and how smart he is. I am guessing this Afghan boy was not to smart and probably didn't have much in the way of money. This doesn't strike me as an attack that had a lot of planning put into it, and he certainly wasn't creative or efficient like the Pulse shooter and the Nice truck attacker. Still, an impulsive attack like this can have a major impact if the attacker gets lucky. 

I have seen a few tweets from Germans saying that the Afghan attacker should not have been shot and killed. Obviously, I disagree and am amazed that people still think that police should risk their lives by trying to apprehend an attempted murderer. The police knew that he was a threat to others and if they tried to they would have gotten stabbed. It's clearly a case of justifiable homicide. 

Expect more of these attacks. ISIS has always been effective at recruiting people into Jihad. They have shifted focus from gathering new fighters to join them in Syria and Iraq to encouraging these kinds of attacks. They are reaching these people with their propaganda and have successfully encouraged attacks. More are coming and I fully expect more deaths in Europe. 

As for Germany, they have been extremely lucky to avoid the kinds of terror attacks that France and Belgium have had. Many people have speculated on why this is. I think that it has a lot to do with the difference between the Islamic population in Germany compared to France. The refugee and migrant populations in Germany are mostly brand new and haven't had a chance to really establish themselves and gather money and resources. The Islamic community in France and Belgium have been there much longer and have more opportunities to gather weapons and money to pull off these kinds of attacks. Because of this, I am thinking that Germany won't have as many of these major terror attacks for some time, at least until the refugees become more established. They are still likely to have more of these lower scale, less sophisticated attacks though. 

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