Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Terror attack in Flint Michigan where a man stabbed a police officer and screamed Allah Akbar.

Police stand guard after the attack in Flint. Flint Journal/CBS/AP.

A Canadian man was detained in Flint Michigan after stabbing a police officer in the neck and screaming "Allah Akbar". CBS. The attacker has been identified as Amor Ftouhi and has been charged with violence in an international airport. He was in the country legally. During the attack Ftouhi allegedly screamed "Allah Akbar" and ranted about Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan before stabbing the victim with a 12 inch knife. The victim survived the attack and was in satisfactory condition. Flint police believe that the threat is over and that Ftouhi was a "lone wolf" attacker. 

My Comment:
I remember yesterday writing that America hadn't suffered any terror attacks during Ramadan so far. I guess I spoke too soon as this is fairly obviously a terror attack. It's a fairly minor one where only one person was hurt, but it was following the ISIS playbook. 

This was probably a lone wolf attack. It wasn't sophisticated at all and it was the kind of attack that almost anyone could attempt. I am not sure what the exact plan here was. It is possible that Ftouhi was trying to imitate ISIS inspired attackers in Europe. There have been several attacks where an attacker tried to overpower a cop or soldier and steal their weapon. If so, this attack failed just as those attacks failed. Ftouhi wasn't able to steal a weapon and was detained right away. 

It's also possible that he wasn't trying to go for a weapon at all and was just interested in stabbing a cop. I've said before that even though ISIS encourages that kind of attack, it's just about the stupidest way to go about things. Not only are all cops in the United States armed, they are trained to fight and do not represent a "soft target". It's a minor miracle that Ftouhi wasn't shot and killed immediately. 

Some will likely ask why Ftouhi didn't purchase a gun. As a foreign citizen, Ftouhi was not eligible to purchase a firearm. He would have failed a background check and I doubt any but the most scuzzy of private citizens would have sold him a gun. Unlike the popular media description, it's not actually that easy to get a gun in the United States if you aren't a citizen. 

I do wonder why Ftouhi attacked the United States instead of his home in Canada. Ftouhi was from Quebec and had multiple targets he could have struck in Canada. And he probably would have been able to acquire better weapons in Canada than he was able to get here. My guess is that he correctly surmised that a terror attack in Flint Michigan would have a bigger impact than any attack in Canada. 

I do have to say that the police response to this attack was fairly impressive. Though part of that is that there are always cops at airports, they were able to quickly able to stop this attacker before he killed someone. And they managed to capture him alive to interrogate him. Good work all around. 

I doubt that Ftouhi had any connections to larger terrorist groups. I suspect he probably read ISIS propaganda and followed their instructions but he had no direct link. If he had I think there would have been a better plan and some kind of weapon or explosive used other than a knife. I think that the threat is probably over... 

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