Homeland Security Network Blog
The information source for first responders.
We need to talk about how unprepared we are for a terror attack
by Tom Clonan
‘SMASH HIS HEAD with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place or choke him, or poison him’.
This is the advice given by ISIS spokesman Abu Mohamed al Adnani in 2014 to would-be sympathisers of Islamic State throughout the world – especially within the US and European Union. This call to action, a call to mobilise low-tech and indiscriminate violence against ‘unbelievers’ in their home countries, has resulted in a spate of so-called ‘lone-wolf’ attacks throughout the EU and US.
As Iraqi and Syrian forces – backed by the US and coalition airstrikes of ‘Operation Inherent Resolve’ – close in on the final remnants of Islamic State’s ‘Caliphate’ in Mosul and Raqqa, IS has urged its followers and sympathisers to intensify and ramp up random, low-tech terror attacks throughout Europe and the US this year.
The international intelligence and security community fear that as Raqqa and Mosul are liberated, the leadership of IS will migrate to North Africa – Libya perhaps – to launch a renewed wave of terror attacks throughout Europe this summer. In a concurrent development, it is also feared that thousands of European Islamic State fighters will be forced to flee from Raqqa and Mosul – and that many of them intend to return to their homelands to carry out terror attacks.
It is in the context of all of the above that we have seen a significant evolution of the threat posed by Islamic State throughout Europe. In particular, vehicles such as lorries and SUVs have been used to indiscriminately kill dozens of men, women and children in attacks such as the Nice Promenade des Anglais attack, the Berlin Christmas Market attack, the London Westminster attack and most recently, the Stockholm attack of 7 April.
Why Stockholm attack is significant for Ireland
The Stockholm attack is very significant in that Sweden is – like Ireland – a neutral country that had previously had a low terror threat assessment. Ireland has five terror threat levels. After the murder of Irish tourists in Tunisia in 2015, the threat level was raised from ‘Low’ to ‘Moderate’ – meaning a terror attack in Ireland is ‘possible but unlikely’.