Thursday, November 17, 2016

Major ISIS terror plot targeting Israeli soccer players and other targets in Albania and Kosovo has been disrupted.

A major ISIS terror plot in Albania and Kosovo, in part targeting the Israeli soccer team, was been disrupted. NBC News. 18 plotters were arrested in Kosovo and an additional 6 were arrested in Macedonia and Albania. Weapons, explosives, electronic equipment and even a drone were recovered as well. The attacks were to have been synchronized and would have targeted the Israeli soccer team. The team moved their World Cup qualifying matches to a different city as a precaution. Two Albanian members of ISIS were coordinating the attack before their arrest. Kosovo has a large Muslim population, but most are not radicalized, though some have joined the ISIS terror organization.

My Comment:
Wow, this looks like it was going to be a huge terrorist attack. The complexity and choice of weapons is proof enough of that. My guess is that this would have been as bad as the Paris attacks last year or even worse. There could have been dozens or even hundreds dead if this attack had been pulled off.

This attack looked extremely complex and if it had been attempted, I doubt that the local authroites would have been able to respond effectively. This would have been an international terror attack, targeting two countries and involving quite a few fighters and bombings. Indeed, I would put money on this being another ISIS "hybrid" attack involving both suicide bombers and gunmen working together to kill as many people as possible.

The fact that ISIS had a drone was especially concerning. Drones have been a possible bomb vector for quite some time and it looks like ISIS was finally going to give it a go. If they had done so, others would have encouraged them to do the same thing. I don't know how effective such an attack would have been, but it would have been a propaganda victory at least and would probably lead to more restriction on civilian drones.

It's possible that the drone had another purpose as well. As horrible as it is to think, I wonder if it wasn't there to record the terror attack. Can you imagine that? A birds eye view of a terror attack, possibly broadcast live on the internet? That would have been a propaganda coup for ISIS and would have greatly increased the impact such an attack would have made. Such a possibility is a bit far fetched, but I wouldn't be shocked if that was their plan in this case.

I am not surprised that this plot was targeting a soccer stadium. Remember, in the Paris attacks, ISIS launched multiple suicide bombers at a soccer match that French president Francois Hollande was attending. That attack was as much as an assassination attempt as a terror attack, but it failed when security guards caught the bombers before they could enter the stadium. They blew themselves up outside, but if they had managed to get in, there would have been dozens of casualties, possibly including the French president.

When this happened I predicted that ISIS would try the same tactic again. The attack failed mostly because of bad luck and good security. I am guessing that they would have had a better chance in Albania then they did in France. Not to slight Albania, but I doubt their security is up to snuff when compared to France. It was very fortunate that this plot was disrupted before those defenses were tested.

It is also significant that they were targeting a stadium where Israelis were present. ISIS has rarely attacked Israel since it's inception. Some of that is just due to the fact that they are far away from Israeli lands. ISIS also hasn't been able to get much of a foothold in the Palestinian territories due to the domination of Hamas.

Because of those reasons, ISIS has been accused of going easy on Israel. This plot proves that they hate the Israelis as much as they hate everyone else. They just haven't had that many opportunities to strike them.

It really seems as though Europe dodged a bullet here. The pace and scale of ISIS attacks has dropped off a great deal since the summer of terror that we all lived through this year. Since then there haven't been anywhere near the same number of terrorist attacks.

Part of that is due to misfortunes for ISIS in Iraq, Syria and Libya. ISIS has had setbacks in all three countries and their main forces are now cut off from the outside world. The lines of communications that are used to order and launch attacks are not anywhere near as secure as they used to be.

Still, we are way overdue for a major terror attack. I am glad this one was disrupted. It looked to be one of the worst in recent memory and had the potential to be worse then the Paris attacks. We still need to remain vigilant though. ISIS remains a major threat and I think that there will be another major terrorist attack soon. I am honestly shocked it hasn't happened already.

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