Friday, February 10, 2017

Imminent terror attack disrupted in France with four arrests and explosives recovered.

Aftermath of the raid in Clapiers. AFP.

Four arrests have been made in France after an imminent terror plot was disrupted. NBC News. The raid in Clapiers discovered 2.5 ounces of TATP, a common explosive used in previous ISIS attacks, and materials to make more. Three of the arrests were of adult men, while the last one was a 16 year old girl. AFP reported an explosion during the raid and provided the above picture, but no explosion was reported by French authorities. It is unclear what the target for the attack was. 

My Comment:
Very good news out of France. Though the 2.5 ounces of TATP probably wouldn't have been enough to pull off anything but a single suicide bomber attack, the suspects were making more. They probably had the ability to make several suicide vests or a car bomb. Had this plot not been disrupted it is possible that this attack could have been as bad as the Brussels one last year. Multiple bombings or one huge one could kill dozens.  

Though no one has claimed responsibility for this plot, I would say that ISIS is the leading suspect. I do think there is a chance that it could be al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) as well. Though they have fallen off of the radar lately, they are still a major terror organization and they aren't above using suicide bombers. Still, I doubt it was anyone else besides ISIS. 

And by ISIS I mean core ISIS. This plot seems a bit too sophisticated for it to be a lone wolf attacker. Though some lone wolf attackers have used bombs in the past, most notably Ahmad Kahn Rahimi, the New York bomber, such things are usually beyond the typical lone nut. I am guessing that, at the very least, ISIS provided funding and advice for this attack. I can't prove that, but that's what my gut says. 

It's notable that a girl was arrested as well. I wonder what her role in the plot was? It's possible that she was one of the plotters relatives or a girlfriend, but usually that's not enough to be arrested. Perhaps she was going to be one of the bombers? 

That's not as unprecedented as it would appear. There have been female terrorists before, most recently in the San Bernardino attack. Also, ISIS's affiliate in Nigeria, Boko Haram, routinely uses girls under the age of 10 as suicide bombers. Those children are usually either tricked into doing it or forced, but that shouldn't be the case for a 16 year old. If she was part of this plot, she should be arrested with the rest of the plotters. 

There have been quite a few of these disrupted terror attacks lately in Europe. Though obviously many lives are being saved, I wonder if there isn't a downside as well. I don't want any of these attacks to succeed, but I worry that people will think that the threat isn't real. When we are getting weekly reports of disrupted terror attacks, but no actual terror attacks, it would be easy to rest on our laurels. That would be a major mistake... 

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