Friday, November 25, 2016

Yet another ISIS terror plot broken up in Europe, this time in France.

A French soldier patrolling in Strasbourg. AFP.

Another major ISIS terror plot has been broken up in Europe, this time targeting France. NBC News. The plotters had been directed from ISIS leadership in Syria and had a stockpile of weapons. Four were arrested in Strasbourg and one was arrested in Marseille last Sunday but the arrests weren't announced until today. The targets were not confirmed but an amusement park was listed as a possible target and the attack was supposed to have happened on December 1st. All of the suspects had attempted to travel to Syria and had notes saying they pledged allegiance to ISIS. The men arrested were part of two separate cells, one in Strasbourg where four were arrested, and the other in Marseille, with a lone man being arrested. French officials believe that both groups were being coordinated by ISIS and that the attackers planned to live stream the attacks via Periscope. 

My Comment:
This plot comes on the heels of another major terror plot in Europe. Just a few days ago another terror attack was disrupted during the planning stages in Kosovo and Albania. It certainly seems like the terror threat is increasing in Europe, as this is the 2nd major attack in as many weeks broken up by security officials. 

And I want to point out how good of a job that Europe's security forces have been doing lately. They have managed to disrupt many of these attacks, and probably have taken out terrorists without it ever making the news. Europe has done well preventing as many of these terror plots and they have greatly disrupted ISIS's plans in the region. I think that this has been a major factor in why we haven't seen any major terror attacks in the past few months. 

Of course, the terrorists only need to be right one time and the security officials have to be right all of the time. In this case the good guys won. We might not be so lucky next time. I am sure that ISIS is plotting more terror attacks and there may be some semi-competent lone wolf terrorists out there that will, sooner or later, get lucky and kill a lot of people in Europe. Or, perhaps, in the United States. 

Still, it is very good news that this terror attack was broken up. It seems that ISIS is ramping up the pace of their terror attack, but they do seem to be using the same tactics.  It seems likely that this was going to be another Paris style hybrid attack. My guess is that they would have used suicide bombs and rifles to kill as many people as possible. The 2nd, one man, cell in Marseille might have launched their own attack at the same time, causing more chaos and limiting the possible response to each attack. That is a fairly sophisticated way to attack and shows how complex this operation really was. 

Some news outlets are reporting that an amusement park was one of the possible targets. To date, I am not aware of any attacks targeting amusement parks but if one were to occur it would be horrific. Of course, the main concern would be the large number of children at any such park. I have no doubt in my mind that ISIS would kill children and a major strike at an amusement park would be a massive atrocity. 

I also thought it was interesting that ISIS was planning on live-streaming the attack via the Periscope app. I speculated in my post about the Kosovo/Albania plot, that they might use a drone to live stream the attack there and it looks like ISIS is certainly thinking in that direction. As I mentioned before, a terror attack playing out live on the internet would multiply the effectiveness of any terror attack and would horrify people, especially if their target was an amusement park...  

As much as I hate to say it, I don't think Europe, or the United States for that matter, will continue to be this lucky. Sooner or later an ISIS cell or lone wolf is going to succeed in an attack. Indeed, there was a scare yesterday involving a stabbing at an old folks home in France, but the government has said that it was just a run of the mill murder. Perhaps the next time it won't be a false alarm...

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