Posts Tagged ‘lone wolf’

No Lone-wolf Attack: The Guiding Hand Behind a Rabbi’s Murder in the West Bank

January 11, 2018

The fatal shooting of Rabbi Raziel Shevach seems to have been the act of a skilled terror cell, not a random crime of opportunity

Amos Harel Jan 11, 2018 8:13 AM

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The funeral of a rabbi and resident of Havat Gilad murdered the day prior in the northern West Bank on Wednesday, January 10 2018.

The funeral of a rabbi and resident of Havat Gilad murdered the day prior in the northern West Bank on Wednesday, January 10 2018. Olivier Fitouss

The murder of Rabbi Raziel Shevach Tuesday night seems to have been a well-planned attack, different from most of the stabbings, car-rammings and shootings in the territories in the past few years. The fatal shooting appears to have been the act of a skilled terror cell, not a random crime of opportunity.

Most recent local terrorist shootings have homemade Carl Gustav (“Carlo”) submachine guns. Shevach was presumably shot by guns of standard manufacture — either one or two. More than 20 bullets were fired during the incident, presumably from a passing car driven by a person who was not involved in the shooting. Similar previous attacks were preceded by intelligence-gathering. The perpetrators may have used a lookout, stationed on the access road to Havat Gilad, who spied an easy mark — an Israeli, driving alone after dark.

In recent months the Shin Bet security service has apprehended in Samaria, the northern West Bank, several Hamas cells, most of them operated from the Gaza Strip and in the process of planning abductions or gun attacks. That seems a likely direction for this investigation as well. Whether these were Hamas or Islamic Jihad militants or even rogue Palestinian policemen, it seems there was a guiding hand behind the attack.

Rabbi Raziel Shevach, murdered on January 10, 2018.
Rabbi Raziel Shevach, murdered on January 10, 2018.Shevach family

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A similar attack in October 2015 touched off a mini-intifada of stabbings and car-rammings in the West Bank and Jerusalem for several months. Members of a terror cell from Nablus murdered Naama and Eitam Henkin, ambushing their vehicle east of the city. And just as it did two years ago, the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip has announced its desire to ignite a new wave of terror in the West Bank, that will hurt Israel and embarrass the Palestinian Authority.

This latest attack comes at a time of relative calm, after several weeks of unrest triggered by U.S. President Donald Trump’s December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Successful terror attacks have a tendency to replicate. The effort spent on tracking down this cell is meant not only to prevent it from carrying out additional attacks but also to head off a possible wave of copycat attacks.

Not only the army and the Shin Bet, but also the Palestinians are working to apprehend the cell. The security apparatus of the Palestinian Authority, despite some recent tension with Israel and complaints by the Netanyahu government about financial aid given by President Mahmoud Abbas to terrorists imprisoned in Israel, has resumed its coordination with its Israeli counterparts.

 

The funeral of a rabbi and resident of Havat Gilad murdered the day prior in the northern West Bank on Wednesday, January 10 2018.
The funeral of a rabbi and resident of Havat Gilad murdered the day prior in the northern West Bank on Wednesday, January 10 2018. Olivier Fitouss

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And yet, these are not ordinary days, if such a term can be used in the context of the territories. On the backdrop of the disappointment with Trump and what seems to be the twilight of the Abbas regime, increasing numbers of senior Fatah figures are again expressing supporting for a resumption of the armed struggle. The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, warned Fatah leaders Wednesday against such remarks. At Shevach’s funeral, several mourners called for revenge. Education Minister Naftali Bennett responded by saying the only revenge would be continuing to build in the territories. Bennett, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman promised settlers to regulate Havat Gilad, the unauthorized outpost where Shevach lived.

This area has a blood-soaked history, ever since the beginning of the second intifada. Gilad Zar, the outpost’s namesake, was the security officer of the Samaria Regional Council. He was wounded in a shooting attack on a road nearby but managed to recover, only to be murdered two months later (in May 2001) in another attack in the area.

When then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon paid a condolence call to Gilad’s father, Moshe Zar, a real-estate dealer (who was seriously wounded himself while fighting under Sharon at the 1956 Mitla Pass battle in Sinai), cameras showed an bewildered Sharon facing being lambasted by the family. The grieving family protested the loss of their sense of security on the area’s roads and demanded harsh retaliation against the Palestinians. A few months later the illegal outpost was established and since then, in the shadow of a few attempts by the state to evacuate it, there has been an ongoing legal and political battle over its authorization. Sixteen and a half years have passed since Sharon’s visit to Moshe Zar and there is no denying that security on West Bank roads has greatly improved since the peak of the second intifada. And yet, emotions still run high and both the texts and the disagreements are nearly unchanged.

Amos Harel
read more: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.834193

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Australia Thwarts ‘Islamic-Inspired’ Plane Attack Plot

July 30, 2017

SYDNEY — Security has been increased at Australian airports after police foiled “Islamic-inspired” plans for a bomb attack on an aircraft during counter-terrorism raids in which four men were arrested on Saturday, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) have confirmed.

“In recent days, law enforcement has become aware of information that suggested some people in Sydney were planning to commit a terrorist act using an improvised device,” AFP commissioner Andrew Colvin said during a press conference with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Sunday, adding:

“We do believe it is Islamic-inspired terrorism. Exactly what is behind this is something that we will need to investigate fully.

“At this time we don’t have a great deal of information on the specific attack, the location, date or time. However, we are investigating information indicating that the aviation industry was potentially a target …”

Five properties were searched on Saturday across the Sydney suburbs of Surry Hills, Lakemba, Punchbowl and Wiley Park. The commissioner said four of those searches may continue for days.

An AFP spokesman told Reuters the men had not been charged as of Sunday morning.

Turnbull said advice from Australian security and intelligence agencies had led to increased security measures at Sydney airport on Thursday, while the country’s other domestic and international airports were affected from Saturday.

“Some of the measures will be obvious to the public, some will not be,” Turnbull said.

Colvin said travellers could expect an increased police and security agency presence at airports.

“You can expect longer delays to make sure that more screening is being done on baggage, both hold luggage as well as hand luggage,” adding that travellers should allow more time to get through security.

Australia, a close ally of the United States, has been on heightened alert for attacks by home-grown militants returning from fighting in the Middle East, or their supporters, since 2014.

Authorities say they have thwarted a number of potential attacks since then but there have been several “lone wolf” assaults, including a cafe siege in Sydney that left two hostages and the gunman dead.

About 100 people have left Australia for Syria to fight alongside organizations such as Islamic State, Australia’s immigration minister said last month.

(Reporting by Benjamin Cooper; Editing by James Dalgleish)

See also:

Police foil plot to ‘bring down plane’: PM (Includes video)

http://www.skynews.com.au/news/top-stories/2017/07/30/four-arrested-in-terror-raids-across-sydney.html

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BBC News

Counter-terrorism police in Australia have stopped a suspected plot to bring down an aeroplane, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said.

He was speaking after four people were arrested in raids across Sydney.

Investigators said they had seized materials in the raids that could have been used to make an improvised explosive device.

Mr Turnbull said the raids had been a “major joint counter-terrorism operation”.

He said extra security was in place at domestic and international airports.

The raids took place in the Sydney suburbs of Surry Hills, Lakemba, Wiley Park and Punchbowl, Australian broadcaster ABC reported.

Australia’s national terror threat level remains at “probable”.

A policeman refuses to let members of the public walk on to a street that has been blocked after police arrested four people in raids across Sydney, July 29, 2017.
Police sealed off roads following the raids across Sydney. Reuters photo

Australian Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin said the four men arrested were allegedly linked to a Islamist-inspired plot.

“In recent days, law enforcement has become aware of information that suggested some people in Sydney were planning to commit a terrorist attack using an IED (improvised explosive device),” he told a news conference.

He said police did not yet have information on “the specific attack, the location, date or time”, adding that he expected the investigation to be “long and protracted”.

ABC reported that a woman in the Surry Hills area, who said her son and husband had been arrested, denied that they had any links to terrorism.

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Timeline: Australia’s terror threat

June 2017: In Melbourne, gunman Yacqub Khayre kills a man and holds a woman hostage during a siege at an apartment building. Three police officers are injured after Khayre engages them in a firefight. He is shot dead.

December 2016: A large police operation foils a terror plot to bomb landmarks in Melbourne on Christmas Day. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull describes the plan as an “Islamist terrorist plot”.

September 2016: Police charge a 22-year-old man with committing a terrorist act and attempted murder in southwest Sydney. They say he was inspired by the Islamic State (IS) group. Officers say the attacker repeatedly stabbed a 59-year-old man in a suburban park and then tried to stab a policeman.

October 2015: Fifteen-year-old Farhad Jabar Khalil Mohammad shoots a civilian employee of the New South Wales Police dead before being killed by constables at the police headquarters in Parramatta, Sydney.

December 2014: Man Haron Monis, a self-styled cleric originally from Iran, takes 17 people hostage in a cafe in the centre of Sydney. Monis and two hostages are killed after a 16-hour siege. A psychiatrist later tells an inquest into the siege that Monis had a severe personality disorder that enabled him to inflict huge harm on others.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-40766858

U.S. intel warning of possible al Qaeda attacks in U.S. before election on Monday

November 4, 2016

CBS News

Last Updated Nov 4, 2016 7:43 AM EDT

NEW YORK —  CBS News has learned about a potential terror threat for the day before the election.

Sources told CBS News senior investigative producer Pat Milton that U.S. intelligence has alerted joint terrorism task forces that al Qaeda could be planning attacks in three states for Monday.

It is believed New York, Texas and Virginia are all possible targets, though no specific locations are mentioned.

U.S. authorities are taking the threat seriously, though the sources stress the intelligence is still being assessed and its credibility hasn’t been confirmed. Counterterrorism officials were alerted to the threat out of abundance of caution.

A senior FBI official told CBS News, “The counterterrorism and homeland security communities remain vigilant and well-postured to defend against attacks here in the United States.  The FBI, working with our federal, state and local counterparts, shares and assesses intelligence on a daily basis and will continue to work closely with law enforcement and intelligence community partners to identify and disrupt any potential threat to public safety.”

Intelligence about potential threats always increases during holiday seasons and when big events are approaching.

As Election Day nears, federal law enforcement is planning for several worst-case scenarios.

Earlier this week, an alert warned local police of “polling places” being seen as “attractive targets” for “lone wolf”-type attacks by individuals motivated by violent extremist ideologies, sovereign citizen or other extremist activity.

Australia’s PM gives terror warning at Asean summit

September 7, 2016

BBC News

“It’s got to be a very strong full-court press against terrorism.”

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says the threat of terror attacks at Australian landmarks should be taken seriously. Getty Images

Australia will offer more help to South East Asian countries to prevent terror attacks across the region.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is set to discuss security with other leaders at the Asean summit in Laos.

Mr Turnbull has signalled he would like to expand Australia’s counter-terrorism arrangements with Indonesia, Malaysia and other neighbouring countries.

It comes after the so-called Islamic State threatened “lone wolf” attacks in Sydney and Melbourne.

Mr Turnbull said that such a threat should be taken seriously after IS suffered losses on battlefields in Iraq and Syria.

“As it is rolled back, as its territory is being taken back – it will resort to terrorist activities outside of the Middle East,” he said.

“But we do have to be very alert to the actions of these lone actors – individuals who … for a variety of reasons, may be radicalised.”

The Australian government is taking measures to prevent foreign fighters who could be recruited from South East Asia and Australia and Mr Turnbull is arguing for more intelligence sharing.

Mr Turnbull named the 2002 Bali bombings as an example of the danger posed to the region. The attacks killed 202 people, including 88 Australians and 27 Britons.

“When there is terrorist activity in our region, very often, almost invariably in a large-scale attack, Australians can be put at risk and have, indeed, lost their lives,” he said.

“We’re all in it together, it’s got to be a very strong full-court press against terrorism. We’re committed to that and I’m looking forward to some very candid and constructive discussions over the next few days.”

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-37283792

Obama boasts about progress on Islamic State, warns of small-scale attacks

August 5, 2016
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Reuters
Thu Aug 4, 2016 10:05pm EDT

 
President Barack Obama holds a news conference at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. Photo by Jonathan Ernst, Reuters

President Barack Obama on Thursday touted progress he said the United States and its allies had made in the military campaign against Islamic State, but warned that the militant group still can direct and inspire attacks.

The United States is leading a military coalition conducting air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, where the group seized broad swathes of territory in 2014. It has succeeded in breaking Islamic State’s grip on some towns, although it still controls its two de facto capitals, Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria.

The president, criticized for suggesting Islamic State was made up of amateurs, presented a more measured assessment on Thursday.

He said the last two years of the U.S.-led air and ground campaign have proved that the extremist group can be beaten in conventional military fights but that it has shown the ability to carry out damaging, small-scale attacks.

“I am pleased with the progress that we’ve made on the ground in Iraq and Syria,” Obama told a news conference at the Pentagon after meeting with officials directing the campaign, but added: “We’re far from freeing Mosul and Raqqa.”While the campaign against Islamic State in Iraq, Syria and now Libya is making significant gains, the group is adapting, reverting to high-profile attacks and using the internet to recruit and train, and to encourage “lone wolf” attacks.

“They’ve seen the degree of attention they can get with smaller-scale attacks using small arms or assault rifles,” Obama said. “The possibility of either a lone actor or a small cell carrying out an attack that kills people is real.”

The United States must do a better job of disrupting Islamic State networks that can carry out attacks far from the group’s bases in the Middle East, Obama said.

“Those networks are more active in Europe than they are here, but we don’t know what we don’t know, and so it’s conceivable that there are some networks here that could be activated,” he said, while warning against over-reacting to such attacks.

“How we react to this is as important as the efforts we take to destroy ISIL, prevent these networks from penetrating,” he said, using an acronym for the group. “When societies get scared they can react in ways that undermine the fabric of our society.”

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COORDINATING WITH RUSSIA

In Syria, where the United States is exploring options to cooperate with Russia militarily to defeat Islamic State, Obama said Russia’s and Syria’s most recent actions have raised doubts about their commitment to a pause in the conflict.

This week, a Syrian rescue service operating in rebel-held territory said a helicopter dropped containers of toxic gas overnight on a town close to where a Russian military helicopter had been shot down hours earlier.

The opposition Syrian National Coalition accused President Bashar al-Assad of being behind the attack. Assad has denied previous accusations of using chemical weapons.

The twin U.S. goals in Syria have been to end the violence that has claimed some 400,000 lives, according to United Nations estimates, and to seek a political process to replace Assad, whom Obama has said “must go.”

Proposals for the United States and Russia to cooperate in Syria would have them share intelligence to coordinate air strikes and prohibit the Syrian air force from attacking rebel groups considered moderate.

But U.S. military and intelligence officials have called the plan naive and said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry risks falling into a trap that Russian President Vladimir Putin has laid to discredit the United States with moderate rebel groups and drive some of their fighters into the arms of Islamic State and other extremist groups.

Russian fighter goes into action in Syria. REUTERS/Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation/Handout via Reuters

“The U.S. remains prepared to work with Russia to try to reduce the violence and strengthen our efforts against ISIL and al Qaeda in Syria, but so far Russia has failed to take the necessary steps,” Obama said, adding that he was not confident Russia or Putin could be trusted.

(Writing by Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by James Dalgleish)

A Russian Sukhoi Su-24 front-line bomber is seen on a runway shortly before taking off, part of the withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria, at Hmeymim airbase, Syria. REUTERS/Russian Ministry of Defence/Vadim Grishankin/Handout via Reuters

Islamic State: As ‘caliphate’ squeezed, terrorists sent out to distribute “Global Death and Destruction”

July 31, 2016
By Stephen Kalin and Ahmed Tolba
Reuters
July 31, 2016

A flag belonging to the Islamic State fighters is seen on a motorbike after forces loyal to Assad recaptured the historic city of Palmyra

A flag belonging to the Islamic State fighters is seen on a motorbike after forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad recaptured the historic city of Palmyra, in Homs Governorate in this handout picture provided by SANA on March 27, 2016. REUTERS/SANA/Handout via Reuters

BAGHDAD/CAIRO (Reuters) – Islamic State, losing territory and on the retreat in Iraq and Syria, has claimed credit for a surge in global attacks this summer, most of them in France and Germany.

The wave of attacks followed a call to strike against the West during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in June and July, in an apparent shift in strategy by the jihadist group, which has been hammered by two years of U.S.-led coalition air strikes and ground advances by local forces.

Instead of urging supporters to travel to its self-proclaimed caliphate, it encouraged them to act locally using any means available.

“If the tyrants close the door of migration in your faces, then open the door of jihad in theirs and turn their actions against them,” said an audio clip purportedly from spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, referring to Western governments’ efforts to keep foreign fighters from traveling to the join the group.

Radicalized followers have responded to that call repeatedly in the past two months, in countries part of the international coalition battling Islamic State, including shooting people at a Florida nightclub, running them over with a truck in the French Riviera, and hacking them with an axe on a train near Munich.

The perpetrators had varying degrees of connection to the Middle East-based jihadists. Some had tried to travel to Syria and were on the authorities’ radar, while others displayed few outward signs of radicalism until their deadly acts.

“There’s a growing understanding that the idea of the caliphate is dying and more and more the leadership is calling on foreign fighters not even to come to Iraq and Syria but to go elsewhere or to commit violence locally,” said Max Abrahms, a professor at Northeastern University in Boston who studies extremist groups.

Looking ahead, security experts and officials in the Middle East and the West predict the military campaign against the group in Iraq and Syria will ultimately end its goal of establishing a caliphate but in doing so may lead to a sustained increase in militant attacks globally.

‘LONE WOLF’

For more than a month, Islamic State supporters on social media have been encouraging would-be “lone wolf” attackers in the West to choose from methods ranging in sophistication from bombing and shooting to stabbing and assault.

“Pledge your allegiance in secret or in public to (Islamic State leader) Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and each one of you will be a soldier of the caliphate, no different from those present in the Islamic State,” said one supporter.

Claims of credit for recent attacks issued by Islamic State via Amaq news agency, which supports the jihadist group, referenced Adnani’s appeal.

The attackers “carried out the operation in response to calls to target nationals of countries that are part of the coalition fighting Islamic State” in Iraq and Syria, said statements following four incidents in Europe this month.

In France, a Bastille Day truck attack killed 84 people in Nice and a raid on a church killed an elderly Catholic priest in Normandy; In Germany, an axe attack and a suicide bombing in Bavaria injured about 20 people in total.

Most of the assailants, in pre-recorded messages pledging allegiance to Islamic State and taking responsibility for the attacks, echoed Adnani’s rhetoric and encouraged others to emulate them.

“Brothers, go out with a knife, whatever is needed, attack them, kill them en masse,” said Abdel Malik Petitjean, one of two men who killed the priest in northern France last week.

“If you are unable to travel to the Levant (Syria), then fight the apostate armies in your country,” 17-year-old Muhammad Riyad, the Afghan refugee who carried out the axe attack on a train in Bavaria earlier this month, urged other Muslims in a similar video.

‘LIKELY TO GET WORSE’

As Islamic State is weakened militarily, it is trying to commit violence anywhere in the world, said Abrahms, including by claiming credit for acts even when they have only a tenuous link to the group.

“It’s indiscriminate about who can be a soldier of the caliphate … and it’s indiscriminate about which attacks the group will claim as its own,” he said.

In the last 18 months, the group has been pushed off a quarter of the lands it seized in Iraq and Syria in 2014, research firm IHS said this month; other estimates put losses closer to half.

Iraqi authorities have pledged to retake Mosul – the largest city still under the group’s control – later this year, but the militants will likely maintain safe havens in remote desert areas and revert to more traditional insurgent techniques.

Islamic State’s defeat is a longer way off in Syria, and it has established footholds in pockets of lawlessness or instability from Libya to Afghanistan to the Philippines.

FBI Director James Comey said this week he expected the eventual defeat of Islamic State could lead to an increase in attacks in the United States and Europe by drawing militants out of Syria in much the same way that al Qaeda came about from fighters who had been radicalized in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Analysts including J.M. Berger, a fellow at George Washington University who researches Islamic State, have supported that prediction.

“Projecting strength through terrorist attacks is a factor in the recent violence, but down the road, when (Islamic State) supporters have nothing to lose, things are likely to get worse,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Lin Noueihed, Mostafa Hashem and Omar Fahmy in Cairo; Writing by Stephen Kalin; Editing by Pravin Char)

Angela Merkel’s open-door immigration policy protects Germany from terrorism in the long-run

July 28, 2016

All three asylum seekers who carried out attacks this week had entered Germany long before the Chancellor announced her immigration policy last year

By ROBERT VERKAIK

The Independent

“The German government is not at war with Islam.”

 Image result for merkel with migrants taking selfies, photos.

Migrants from Syria and Iraq take selfies with German Chancellor Angela Merkel outside a refugee camp near the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees after their registration at Berlin’s Spandau district, Germany Reuters

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Angela Merkel‘s open-door policy towards immigrants fleeing Middle East war zones will, in the long run, make Germany safer from terrorist attacks.

By showing compassion to hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees, the German Chancellor has sent a message to the world that Germany is not at war with Islam.

More importantly, this means that the vast majority of Muslims resident in Germany have every reason to cooperate with the security services in the fight against terrorism.

This is not something that can be said of the marginalised and radicalised Muslim communities of the run-down suburbs of Brussels or Paris which breed and harbour terrorist networks.

The key to beating terrorism is winning the hearts and minds of Muslims living in the communities that are vulnerable to radicalisation by hate preachers and terror groups like Islamic State and al-Qaeda. So while Merkel’s critics have been quick to blame her for the recent attacks in Bavaria it is possible that her actions have already saved the country from the kind of organised mass-murder bomb and gun attacks which have taken place in France and Belgium. These attacks have sprung from the suburbs of Paris and Brussels which have become incubators of terrorism. The hatred and resentment which has taken hold there may take generations to overcome.

Certainly the Paris banlieues and the Molenbeek suburb of Brussels are populated by Muslims who no longer feel they have a stake in mainstream society. Many of the young Muslims brought up there have already headed out to Syria and Iraq to live and fight in the caliphate. Those who have chosen to stay continue to nurse grievances against a state which sends more and more police into their communities to knock down doors and make arrests.

François Hollande has frequently announced that he is at war with Isis. For many Muslims who feel they have become criminalised by their religion the French President might as well be declaring war on them.

The truth is that foreign policy does play a vital role in the radicalisation and incentivisation of terrorists. It is a lesson that France benefitted from during the Iraq war when its government vehemently opposed that conflict. During this period France was free from terrorist attacks, whereas Britain who instigated and waged war against Saddam Hussein, suffered the London bomb attacks of 7/7. Spain too, a high profile supporter of the war, faced the Madrid train bombings in 2004.

Now France and Belgium are being targeted by sophisticated terror operations planned from Syria and Iraq as well as home-grown “lone wolf” jihadis who have been radicalised on the internet. The untrusted French and Belgian security services have been unable to gather vital intelligence from these neglected parts of their cities. This means the intelligence failures that led up to attacks on Charlie Hebdo, the Bataclan, the Brussels transport system and Nice are likely to be repeated.

Critics of Mrs Merkel argue that by announcing an immigration free-for-all she has endangered the lives of ordinary Germans. But the recent flow of refugees from war zones into Europe has not increased the risk of terrorism.

This is supported by the fact that all three asylum seekers who carried out attacks in Germany this week had entered the country long before Mrs Merkel announced her immigration policy last year.

Her open-door immigration approach has done more to protect Germany from terrorism than any counter-terrorism policy because it has helped to reassure Muslims (living inside German borders and jihadis living abroad) that the German government is not at war with Islam. While France and Belgium are caught in a vicious circle of ever-tougher policing and increasing terror attacks, Germany has the chance to forge a different future.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/how-angela-merkels-open-door-immigration-policy-protects-germany-from-terrorism-in-the-long-run-a7156756.html

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Germany: After four savage attacks by Muslims in one week, Germans are living with more anxiety, fear

July 26, 2016

  • After four terror attacks in just one week, Germans are today living in fear
  • Spared the fate of Paris, Brussels and Nice, Germans thought they were safe 
  • DANIEL JOHNSON on the after-effects which will be felt across Europe

No emotion is more potent in politics than fear. After four terror attacks in the space of just a week, Germans are today living in fear.

No end to the nightmare is in sight.

And the after-effects will be felt across Europe.

Bavaria has borne the brunt of this wave of violence, because it was the main entry-point for the million or more migrants who arrived last year.

Attack: Police restrain the Syrian refugee who hacked a pregnant woman to death

Attack: Police restrain the Syrian refugee who hacked a pregnant woman to death

Two of the terrorists were evidently Islamist fanatics. The other two may have had other motives, but all four were Muslims and two were from Syria.

Particularly disturbing was the latest attack by a Syrian suicide bomber, who failed to gain entry to a music festival, where he would have caused untold carnage.

He had been refused asylum yet still allowed to stay in Germany.

This suggests the German bureaucracy cannot cope, though yesterday officials rushed to insist he had been due for deportation to Bulgaria.

In any case, ordinary Germans have had enough of these attacks – the first serious terrorism they have faced since the far-Left Baader-Meinhof gang wrought havoc nearly four decades ago.

Having been spared the fate of Paris, Brussels and Nice, Germans thought themselves safe. Now they are in shock and increasingly angry.

It is reported that police are investigating over 400 cases of asylum-seekers with possible terrorist connections.

Even before these attacks, at least two thirds of Germans believed Chancellor Merkel’s ‘open door’ policy last year was a mistake.

Uncontrolled immigration and open borders are now their major concerns. German politicians who poured scorn on the British for voting to regain secure borders over Brexit have gone strangely silent.

Munich attack: The Munich shooter boasted ‘I am German’ as he mowed people down in a McDonald’s and a shopping centre

Munich attack: The Munich shooter boasted ‘I am German’ as he mowed people down in a McDonald’s and a shopping centre

Equally vexing is the problem of integrating the millions of migrants already in Germany. They have been treated with generosity, but patience is wearing thin.

The Afghan asylum-seeker who turned on passengers with an axe on a train last week had been living with a German foster family.

The Syrian who slaughtered a pregnant woman near Stuttgart with a machete had a job.

The Munich shooter boasted ‘I am German’ as he mowed people down in a McDonald’s and a shopping centre. His parents may have been Iranian but he had enjoyed the same privileges as other young Germans.

Having lived in and reported on Germany for a number of years, I have grown to love the country and its people.

Their efforts to set the world an example of democracy and tolerance, while never forgetting the Nazi past, are admirable.

Yet it was a misplaced desire to show the world this liberal face of modern Germany that led Angela Merkel to impose her disastrous migration policy on Europe, and to offer an open door to all refugees from Syria.

The result was one million people – most of them economic migrants, and not refugees from war-ravaged Syria at all – entering the country in 2015 alone with more still arriving.

The pressure all this is placing on ordinary Germans is becoming intolerable to them.

Most Germans are deeply patriotic, but understandably –given their country’s Nazi past – they abhor nationalism.

In many ways they prefer to see themselves as European rather than German. Yet Europe is now seen as a problem which facilitates the flow of migrants and potential terrorists.

Until now, Germany’s default position to any problem has always been ‘more Europe’ or closer integration. It is a position being trumped by the overriding need for security.

This need, an abiding aspect of the German psyche, reflects the fact that the wartime legacy of destruction and occupation runs very deep.

There is a reason why ‘angst’ is a German word, and it does not take much to bring such anxieties to the surface.

When hundreds of women were attacked in Cologne by gangs of migrants on New Year’s Eve, the public reaction was seismic.

The machete attack took place in the city of Reutlingen and came two days after the Munich shopping mall shooting

The machete attack took place in the city of Reutlingen and came two days after the Munich shopping mall shooting

What gave the backlash its vehemence was the folk memory of 1945, when up to two million German women were raped by the Red Army. (Stalin’s only comment on his Army’s barbaric behaviour was: ‘We lecture our soldiers too much.’)

Most victims never spoke about it, but the national trauma has never been forgotten.

Along with Germany’s desire to be seen as a liberal, multicultural country, this reminder of the past explains in part why the authorities seemed in denial over the attacks.

Cologne police force was accused of deliberately hushing up the scandal. Broadcasters were forced to apologise for failing to report it.

The fact is that post-war Germany, while presenting its liberal face to the world, has failed successfully to absorb the Turks and other Muslims who make up a high proportion of inner-city populations.

Despite a thriving economy and a generous welfare state, third-generation immigrants usually remain ‘foreigners’ in the eyes of their German neighbours. The refusal of many Muslims to adopt German values is exacerbated by a multicultural approach that even Mrs Merkel admits has been a disaster.

Officially, Germany remains wedded to the right of free movement enshrined in the EU treaties. In its most radical form, this right underlies the Schengen Agreement.

Comprising 22 of the EU’s member states, the borderless Schengen area is supposed to be the EU’s proudest achievement.

Since the migration crisis erupted last year, however, seven of these countries have reimposed some form of border controls.

Germany has strict checks on its border with Austria, for example, to control the influx of migrants from south-eastern Europe.

As fear of terrorism spreads across the Continent, such controls are being extended. Non-EU nationals entering the Schengen area are supposed to be checked thoroughly before being issued with a visa that entitles them to travel within it.

But the presence of thousands of potential terrorists already within the area makes it increasingly risky to allow uncontrolled movement across internal borders, even for EU citizens. Schengen was moribund even before Germany came under attack.

The European political elites remain so wedded to the principle of free movement they were willing to sacrifice British EU membership rather than compromise.

But in Germany, the most powerful country in Europe, that principle is increasingly unsustainable in the face of public opinion that demands border security at all costs.

On the BBC yesterday, German MEP Hans-Olaf Henkel criticised Mrs Merkel for irresponsibly encouraging refugees to come to Europe without regard for the consequences.

A polic officer in protective gear inspects a back pack used to carry an explosive device at the scene of a suicide attack in the southern German city of Ansbach

A polic officer in protective gear inspects a back pack used to carry an explosive device at the scene of a suicide attack in the southern German city of Ansbach

He even accused her of inadvertently helping the Brexit campaign, which claimed many refugees accepted by Germany might end up in London.

Many Germans now agree with this critique of Mrs Merkel, however proud they may be of her international stature.

She has survived for nearly 11 years –largely because, in the words of the poet and humorist Hilaire Belloc, modern Germans ‘always keep ahold of nurse, for fear of finding something worse’.

But they are now coming to terms with a new cautionary tale, this time about the risks of inviting strangers into your house.

Mrs Merkel’s guests have certainly made themselves at home in Germany – but long after ‘Mutti’ (or ‘Mummy’ – Merkel’s nickname) has moved on, her compatriots will be left wondering how many more just want to burn the house down.

Germans are not going to put up with living in fear. If such terror attacks continue, it seems increasingly likely that the country may abandon Schengen altogether.

Were that to happen, open borders would be a dead letter – as would the cherished principle of free movement.

Indeed, so powerful is this border anxiety in Germany today that it could bring the whole edifice of the European Union crashing down.

  • Daniel Johnson is the editor of Standpoint.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3707950/Four-savage-terror-attacks-Germans-sink-EU-DANIEL-JOHNSON-country-living-fear.html#ixzz4FVv7NYWR
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Afghan Refugee That Attacked Fellow Passengers With An Axe on a German Train Had an Islamic State Flag Where He Lived — Hong Kong family in the middle of “a slaughterhouse”

BBC News
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Germany axe attack: Assault on train in Wurzburg injures Hong Kong family
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Police stand by regional train on which man wielding axe attacked passengers in Wuerzburg, Germany, 18 July 2016
The attacker fled the train but was chased and shot dead by police. EPA photo

A teenage Afghan refugee armed with an axe and knife injured four people on a train in southern Germany before being shot dead by police, officials say.

Three people in a group from Hong Kong were seriously hurt and one slightly injured in the attack in Wurzburg. Another 14 were treated for shock.

Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said the attacker was killed as he tried to flee the scene.

The motive for the attack is not yet clear.

The South China Morning Post said it was believed the four injured were a 62-year-old man, his 58-year-old wife, their daughter, 27, and her boyfriend, 31. The 17-year-old son travelling with them was not hurt, it said.

A source told the paper the father and boyfriend had tried to protect the other members of the group.

‘Exclamation’

Mr Herrmann said the attacker was a 17-year-old Afghan refugee who had been living in the nearby town of Ochsenfurt.

He told public broadcaster ARD that the teenager appeared to have travelled to Germany as an unaccompanied minor.

Bloodstains on the floor of the train carriage. 18 July 2016

Bloodstains could be seen on the floor of the train carriage. EPA photo

Mr Herrmann said authorities were looking into reports that the attacker had yelled out “an exclamation”. Some witnesses quoted by German media said they had heard him shout “Allahu akbar” (“God is great”) during the attack.

‘Slaughterhouse’

The incident happened at about 21:15 (19:15 GMT) on the train which runs between Treuchlingen and Wurzburg.

“Shortly after arriving at Wurzburg, a man attacked passengers with an axe and a knife,” a police spokesman said.

Police said the attacker had fled the train but was chased by officers who shot him dead.

German emergency services in the area where a man with an axe attacked passengers on a train near the city of Wurzburg, Germany. July 19, 2016

Emergency services sealed off the area of the attack. Reuters

One local man told DPA news agency that the train carriage where the attack took place “looked like a slaughterhouse”.

He said he saw people crawl from the carriage and ask for a first-aid kit while other victims lay on the floor inside.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has condemned the attack. Immigration officials from the city will accompany family members to Germany.

Although the motive has not been established, the BBC’s Damien McGuinness in Berlin says there is nervousness in Germany about attacks by Islamist extremists following the attacks across the border in France.

In May, a man reportedly shouting “Allahu akbar” killed a man and wounded three others in a knife attack at a railway station near the German city of Munich.

He was later sent to a psychiatric hospital and authorities said they had found no links to Islamic extremism.

map showing Wurzburg location in central Germany

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36827725

‘Lone wolf’ attacks rising, hard to track Europol warns

July 20, 2016

AFP

© AFP | Forensics officers and police search for evidences near a truck on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice on July 15, 2016, after the vehicle drove into a crowd watching a fireworks display

THE HAGUE (AFP) – Europe is at major risk of so-called “lone-wolf” terror attacks, its policing agency said Wednesday, with the latest incidents showing “how difficult it is to detect and disrupt suspects”.

Recent incidents including Monday’s attack on a German train and last week’s carnage in Nice which left 84 people dead “remain a favoured tactic by the Islamic State group and al-Qaeda,” Europol said in a statement.

“Both groups have repeatedly called on Muslims living in western countries to perpetrate lone actor attacks in their countries of residence,” it said.

In the latest incident, the Islamic State group Tuesday released a video purportedly featuring a 17-year-old migrant who went on an axe rampage on a train at Wuerzburg in southern Germany, injuring five people, two critically.

“Although IS has claimed responsibility for the latest attacks, none… seem to have been planned, logistically supported or executed directly by IS,” Europol said,

Despite the attackers’ pledges of allegiance to the IS group, “their actual involvement… cannot be established,” Europol said.

The Hague-based policing organisation also released its 2015 “EU Terrorism and Trend Report” saying 151 people died and more than 350 others were injured in terror attacks last year in the 28-member bloc.

– ‘Women recruiting in Europe’ –

The 55-page report only looked at 2015 and did not take into account the Nice attack or the attacks on the Brussels airport and metro stations in March in which 32 people died.

“In 2015 the EU experienced a massive number of casualties caused by terrorist attacks,” Europol chief Rob Wainwright said.

“The carefully planned attacks demonstrate the elevated threat to the EU from a fanatical minority… based in the Middle East, combined with a network of people born and raised in the EU,” he said.

These people are “often radicalised within a short space of time, (and) proven willing to act as facilitators and active accomplices in terrorism,” Wainwright said.

A significant number of all foreign terrorist travellers in Syria and Iraq are now female, the report said, and women have also “proven to be very successful in facilitating and recruiting while still in the EU”.

These women are trained in the use of weapons though are probably not currently taking part in active combat, Europol added.

“Their roles may change in the future, which may have an effect on the nature and impact” of Islamic State group operations in Europe, the policing agency warned.

Last year, 687 suspects were arrested, of whom 198 were convicted of jihadist activities.

Europol warned: “It is a highly challenging task for the security services and law enforcement to prevent every terrorist attack by keeping track of the ever-increasing numbers of people suspected of being, in one way, or another sympathetic to IS ideology.”

Afghan Refugee That Attacked Fellow Passengers With An Axe on a German Train Had an Islamic State Flag Where He Lived — Hong Kong family in the middle of “a slaughterhouse”

July 19, 2016
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Shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest)
Tue Jul 19, 2016 4:13am EDT

REUTERS — A hand-drawn Islamic State flag was found in the room of the axe-wielding Afghan refugee who attacked passengers on a train in southern Germany, a senior state official said on Tuesday.

The 17-year-old severely wounded four passengers before police shot him dead late on Monday, days after a Tunisian delivery man plowed a 19-tonne truck into crowds of revelers in the southern French city of Nice, killing 84.

The case is likely to deepen worries about so-called “lone wolf” attacks in Europe and could put political pressure on German Chancellor Angela Merkel who welcomed hundreds of thousands of migrants to Germany over the past year.

Bavarian state Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said it was still too early to say whether the Afghan youth was a member of Islamic State, which has claimed responsibility for the French attack, or any other militant group.

Two of those injured in the attacks were in a critical condition and several of the injured included members of a Chinese family, he added, without giving any further details.

MOTIVES

At least one witness reported that the attacker, who had been living with a foster family in the nearby town of Ochsenfurt, had shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest), Herrmann told ZDF television.

“All of that has to be put together in a large mosaic as to what his motivations were, and to what extent he can be counted as an Islamist, or to what extent he radicalized himself in recent times,” Herrmann said. “We are pursuing every piece of evidence.”

Herrmann told the Bayerischer Rundfunk radio station in a separate interview that the attacker had come to Germany as an unaccompanied minor about two years ago.

He started attacking his passengers with an ax and a knife as the train was approaching its last stop, the Bavarian city of Wuerzburg.

He fled after the emergency brake was pulled and was pursued by a police unit and shot dead when he tried to attack the officers, officials said.

The South China Morning Post said the injured passengers were from Hong Kong.

Unlike neighbors France and Belgium, Germany has not been the victim of a major attack by Islamic militants in recent years, although security officials say they have thwarted a large number of plots.

Germany welcomed roughly 1 million migrants in 2015, including thousands of unaccompanied minors. Many were fleeing war in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

(Reporting by Michael Nienaber and Noah Barkin and Andrea Shalal; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-attacks-germany-idUSKCN0ZY2LA

Related:

 ********************************
BBC News
.
Germany axe attack: Assault on train in Wurzburg injures Hong Kong family
.
Police stand by regional train on which man wielding axe attacked passengers in Wuerzburg, Germany, 18 July 2016
The attacker fled the train but was chased and shot dead by police. EPA photo

A teenage Afghan refugee armed with an axe and knife injured four people on a train in southern Germany before being shot dead by police, officials say.

Three people in a group from Hong Kong were seriously hurt and one slightly injured in the attack in Wurzburg. Another 14 were treated for shock.

Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said the attacker was killed as he tried to flee the scene.

The motive for the attack is not yet clear.

The South China Morning Post said it was believed the four injured were a 62-year-old man, his 58-year-old wife, their daughter, 27, and her boyfriend, 31. The 17-year-old son travelling with them was not hurt, it said.

A source told the paper the father and boyfriend had tried to protect the other members of the group.

‘Exclamation’

Mr Herrmann said the attacker was a 17-year-old Afghan refugee who had been living in the nearby town of Ochsenfurt.

He told public broadcaster ARD that the teenager appeared to have travelled to Germany as an unaccompanied minor.

Bloodstains on the floor of the train carriage. 18 July 2016

Bloodstains could be seen on the floor of the train carriage. EPA photo

Mr Herrmann said authorities were looking into reports that the attacker had yelled out “an exclamation”. Some witnesses quoted by German media said they had heard him shout “Allahu akbar” (“God is great”) during the attack.

‘Slaughterhouse’

The incident happened at about 21:15 (19:15 GMT) on the train which runs between Treuchlingen and Wurzburg.

“Shortly after arriving at Wurzburg, a man attacked passengers with an axe and a knife,” a police spokesman said.

Police said the attacker had fled the train but was chased by officers who shot him dead.

German emergency services in the area where a man with an axe attacked passengers on a train near the city of Wurzburg, Germany. July 19, 2016

Emergency services sealed off the area of the attack. Reuters

One local man told DPA news agency that the train carriage where the attack took place “looked like a slaughterhouse”.

He said he saw people crawl from the carriage and ask for a first-aid kit while other victims lay on the floor inside.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has condemned the attack. Immigration officials from the city will accompany family members to Germany.

Although the motive has not been established, the BBC’s Damien McGuinness in Berlin says there is nervousness in Germany about attacks by Islamist extremists following the attacks across the border in France.

In May, a man reportedly shouting “Allahu akbar” killed a man and wounded three others in a knife attack at a railway station near the German city of Munich.

He was later sent to a psychiatric hospital and authorities said they had found no links to Islamic extremism.

map showing Wurzburg location in central Germany

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36827725