Last Thursday Barcelona became the latest European target of “sudden Jihad syndrome”, when a Muslim terrorist drove a van directly into a crowd of bystanders, killing 14 innocent people. The 14th victim was 7 year-old Julian Cadman, a British-Australian boy.
A group of 12 jihadists has been blamed for a series of attacks in and around the Spanish city of Barcelona, killing 15 people.
A van mowed down tourists and residents on Barcelona’s famous Las Ramblas boulevard, and a car was driven into pedestrians in the popular seaside resort of Cambrils. For days, suspected Ramblas attacker Younes Abouyaaqoub was on the run before police shot him dead.
It was at 16:50 (14:50 GMT) on Thursday 17 August that a white van careered down Las Ramblas at high speed, while the avenue that runs 1.2km (0.75 miles) was packed with tourists.
Witnesses said the driver zigzagged along the pedestrianised area, trying to hit as many people as possible. Many were knocked to the ground while others fled for cover in nearby shops and cafes.
The driver killed 13 people and injured more than 100, and then fled. Catalan police rushed to scene and told the public to stay in cafes and restaurants as they combed the area for at least one attacker.
The horror did not stop there. Shortly after the Barcelona attack, more jihadist terrorists committed similar attack in the Spanish town of Cambrils, followed by several other attacks around Europe that we barely heard about:
European nations were hit by a series of violent and deadly attacks over the weekend. These include, in chronological order: an explosion on Wednesday night in the Spanish town of Alcanar, where one person died and seven were injured, and which is believed to be linked to the following day’s attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils; a vehicular attack on Friday in the city of Barcelona that killed 13 and injured over 100; another vehicular attack on Friday in the Spanish town of Cambrils where one person died and six were injured; a stabbing attack in the Finnish city of Turku that killed two and injured eight; and a stabbing attack in the Siberian city of Surgut, in which seven people were injured.
No prizes for guessing who took responsibility for the attacks:
The Islamic State (also known as ISIS) announced Saturday that it is also responsible for the terrorist attack in the Catalan town of Cambrils, which took place on Friday, a few hours after the terrorist attack in the heart of Barcelona. “We murdered and wounded more than 120 Crusaders and Jews,” a statement from the Sunni terror organization read.
The attack in Turku, Finland, stood out for the police’s extraordinarily quick and efficient response:
UN condemnations anyone? Any complaints from the international community about extra-judicial killing? Or do those apply only to Israel?
But what happens when two or more competing causes clash? Who do we condemn first? If at all? This is the essence of what is wrong with the cause du jour of leftist circles – intersectionality. The Tweet below shows even though women were the victims of the Turku attack, we mustn’t condemn it because that would be Islamophobia!
Returning to the deadliest attack in Barcelona, the terrorist escaped by hijacking a car and killing the driver:
Spanish authorities on Monday raised the death toll of last week’s terror attacks to 15, confirming that Pau Perez, a 34-year-old man found stabbed dead in a Ford Focus outside Barcelona on Friday, was killed by Younes Abouyaaqoub.
It took the police from Thursday to Monday to finally catch up with the terrorist and kill him
Younes Abouyaaqoub was killed during an operation in Subirats, west of Barcelona, police said in a tweet. He was wearing a fake suicide belt.A robot was sent to remove the belt from before officers were cleared to approach and make a positive identification, in case the belt turned out to be real. The suspect also had knives in his possession when he was shot, said José Lluís Trapero, head of Catalan police.A woman alerted authorities after seeing police photos of Abouyaaqoub and becoming suspicious that the man was wearing long sleeves when it was about 85 degrees (30 degrees Celsius) outside, he said. Witness accounts suggest Abouyaaqoub was alone when police arrived, Trapero said.
Questions are being asked now whether the Barcelona attack was preventable. Soeren Kern at the Gatestone Institute asserts that it was:
The Barcelona attack could have been prevented had municipal officials complied with an order to install bollards, vertical poles designed to prevent car ramming attacks, on the Rambla, the city’s main tourist thoroughfare.
In June, the CIA reportedly warned Catalan police that Barcelona was being targeted by jihadists: “Two months ago the Central Intelligence Agency warned Catalan police of a threat to Las Ramblas,” according to El Periódico.
It remains unclear why Catalan authorities failed to increase security in light of the warnings and threats.
The jihadists prepared for the Barcelona attack at a chalet in the beachfront town of Alcanar, situated 200 kilometers (120 miles) south of Barcelona. A year ago, the terror cell “occupied” the property, which was foreclosed and had been vacant. Squatters are protected by Spanish law, so it is common for youth in Catalonia to take over vacant properties. This may explain why neighbors did not contact the police.
Far more difficult to explain is why no one reported suspicious activity at the chalet. During the course of several months, the jihadists collected more than 100 large gas canisters, which investigators believe were to be used as car bombs. An explosion on August 16, the night before the Barcelona attack, leveled the property. Investigators later found traces of the explosive triacetone triperoxide (TATP), also known as the “Mother of Satan,” a substance widely used by members of the Islamic State in Europe.
Failure to Follow-Up on Leads
Police found the remains of at least two people in the rubble of the Alcanar chalet. The head of the Mossos d’Esquadra, Josep Lluís Trapero, confirmed that one of the bodies was that of Abdelbaki Es-Satti, a Muslim cleric who is suspected of organizing the terror cell and radicalizing its members.
Ali Yassine, the director of the mosque in Ripoll, said that he had reported Es-Satti to local police more than a year ago as part of a security protocol to monitor Muslim preachers. Authorities did not place him on a watch list, however, even though he had been convicted of trafficking drugs and violating Spanish immigration laws.
Catalan Migration Policy Fuels Radicalization
Catalonia not only has the highest Muslim population in Spain, it is also one of the most Islamized regions of the country. Catalonia has 7.5 million inhabitants, including an estimated 510,000 Muslims, who account for around 7% of the total Catalan population. In some Catalan towns, however, the Muslim population is above 40% of the overall population.
All the above should give huge concern to the Spanish authorities.
One of the worst aspects of this wave of terrorism on European soil is that if only the West had paid due attention to the latest intifada in Israel, with “lone-wolf” knife attacks and car-rammings, and not excused these attacks as “resistance to occupation”, they might have saved themselves dozens of lives and millions of dollars in damage. Col. Richard Kemp and Arsen Ostrovsky write in the International Business Times about what Europe can learn from Israel in its war against vehicular attacks: (emphases are mine):
Jihadists have been waging terror in Europe for years now and ‘enough’ was enough after the first attack. But European leaders have largely been in denial, only now beginning to concede there is a problem, and even still, many refusing to identify and confront the radical Islam at the root of this war.
These might be so-called ‘lone wolf’ terrorists, but they are united by the same homicidal ideology, with pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (Isis).
But the sober reality is that this wave of vehicular terror we are seeing across Europe now was pioneered by Palestinian terrorists in Israel, when the world mostly looked the other way, trying to downplay, excuse or just plain ignore the attacks, seeking to differentiate terror in Israel from terror in Europe. Today, Islamic jihadists are copying and exporting this murderous methodology across Europe.
So, what can be done about this, and specifically, how can Europe stop this wave of car rammings by ‘lone wolves’ and what can it learn from Israel?
First and foremost, European leaders must diagnose the problem and identify their enemy. You cannot win a war unless you know who you are trying to defeat. It is not just plain ‘extremism’, some generic form of ‘terrorism’ or a mass outbreak of undiagnosed patients suffering ‘mental health’. The enemy has a name and that name is radical Islam.
One area in particular in which Europe can learn from Israel is in cyber security and counter-terrorism surveillance, in which the Jewish state is an unparalleled leader.
As unpalatable as it may be to European sensitivities, they must begin to apply profiling risk assessment as a measure of precaution and prevention. The stark reality is that a Caucasian mother does not fit your profile of a typical terrorist in this scenario, with all terrorists in the car rammings so far being male Islamic jihadists between roughly the ages of 20 to 40.
However, for profiling to be successful, Europe would do well to again follow the lead of Israel in this case, which does not apply a blanket profiling of entire ethnic groups, but are trained to observe body language, physical signs and other clues as to erratic behavior. The curtailing of some personal freedoms will be a small price to pay for the lives of many.
Europe also cannot be serious about fighting terror on the one hand and embracing Iran on the other. Iran continues to be the foremost global state sponsor of terror. Their support of Assad regime is a primary cause of Syrian refugee crisis and spread of Isis, as well as Hezbollah operatives roaming freely across Europe. Tehran is not a partner in the war on terror, it is one of the primary instigators of global terror.
This is sterling advice from very experienced experts in the field. But will the Europeans take this advice to heart? With the dismal record of media outlets such as CNN and the BBC who outrageously routinely minimise or ignore completely terror attacks in Israel when they list similar attacks around the world, I have serious doubts.
CNN’s analysis, (via Elder of Ziyon) for example, doesn’t count vehicular attacks in Israel as occurring in the West and therefore omits them entirely:
8 out of 23 recorded vehicular terror attacks – 34% – were in Israel, with 13 murdered (plus one stabbed to death after a failed car ramming.)
The deliberate attempt to minimize the ramming attacks in Israel continued at CNN, with a list of notable attacks since 2006 including only one attack in Israel even as it highlights non-fatal attacks in the US.
The New York Times has an analysis on why car-ramming attacks are such effective terror weapons – but the implication in that article is that it makes people fearful only if it happens in the West. There is a clear implication that most of these stories have: Those Israelis who suffered from such attacks since 2008 are not considered one of us, and their fears don’t count. But European attacks are the ones that make us fearful. Europeans are more like Americans than a Israelis are.
And one reason for that is because the New York Times and other media treat Israelis as a separate category of terror victims to begin with. To an extent, those Israelis deserve it more than innocent Europeans. To an extent, Palestinian terrorists are more justified in their murder of Israeli civilians than ISIS is in their murder of Europeans.
Palestinians are the first to use this tactic more than once as a means of terror (there were some isolated vehicle attacks beforehand.) There can be no doubt that ISIS learned this method from the Palestinian terrorists. To write an analysis about vehicle attacks without mentioning this history of Palestinian vehicle attacks is simply dishonest.
But the Western media is loath to put Palestinian Islamic terrorists on the same level as ISIS.
So we see whitewashing instead of actual analysis.
Similarly with the BBC: BBC Watch reports on their bias:
As was the case when vehicular terror attacks took place in Stockholm, Nice, Berlin and London, despite its supposed policy of avoiding the word ‘terrorist’ without attribution in order to avoid “value judgements”, the BBC made appropriate use of that and related terminology when reporting on the terror attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils on August 17th and 18th.
As readers are no doubt aware, attacks on Israelis using the same or other methods are never described by the BBC as terror in its own words. The reason for that glaring double standard lies in the BBC’s failure to distinguish between method and aims, with the result being that when somebody deliberately drives a vehicle into a group of people, the corporation’s description of the attack as terror – or not – depends on the perceived aims and affiliations of the perpetrator.
As has been pointed out countless times in the past, Europe and the West need to learn that what starts with the Jews (or Israel) never ends with the Jews. The terrorists watch the West’s reactions to terror attacks in Israel, and since they see that they can get away with it, and that Israel often gets the blame for those attacks (!), they come to the conclusion that they can try their luck in Europe too.
If the West want to prevent a similar intifada from developing within their borders, they should condemn terrorism in Israel a lot louder.