Europe Is in For a Bloody Summer and Manchester is Just the Start

Europe Is in For a Bloody Summer and Manchester is Just the Start

As the Islamic State gets squeezed in Mosul and elsewhere, as foreign fighters and their friends return home, Europe is likely to face a very bloody summer. On Monday, 22nd May, 2017, a bomb exploded in the foyer of the Manchester Arena in the United Kingdom (UK) at the close of an Arianna Grande concert, largely filled by young teens.

Initial reports suggest one large explosion and there may have been one more. Early reports had 19 people confirmed dead and as many as 50 wounded. Some appeared wounded by shrapnel and the blast is believed to have been carried out by a suicide bomber with a nail type bomb. The United Kingdom had been on a high state of alert for months and today’s incident occurred on the 4th anniversary of a British soldier, Lee Rigby, being butchered by Islamic-inspired terrorists on a British street in broad daylight. Today’s attack is particularly grievous as it clearly targeted children and teenagers. Abu Zakariah Al Britaini, a British citizen appeared in an Islamic State video just last week. The events also come a day after President Trump’s landmark speech on Islam, his visit to Saudi Arabia, and Israel. This attack seems consistent with a trend in Islamic State-inspired attacks where children and young people are the focus of the attack and marks a new low in terrorist activity.

There are unconfirmed reports that the Islamic State has celebrated the attack but have not yet claimed responsibility for the explosion, and it comes days before a key British general election on June 8th, largely spurred by Brexit. An attack in the UK is not a total surprise as reports suggested the Islamic State was planning attacks. It is only little more than a month ago 22nd March 2017, that a terrorist used a vehicle to attack the British Parliamentary precinct in London mowing down 50 people and killing four, and then murdered a British policeman before being gunned down. There are reports of Islamic State wives and widows returning home, a chemical weapons terror cell being set up, and almost daily arrests through out Europe. There are also reports that the Islamic State was planning to attack British ports with bombs strapped on oil tankers. Some reports suggest that as many as a thousand Britons fought for the Islamic State and many have returned to the UK. The US State Department, had a week earlier, issued a travel warning to American citizens to be cautious and vigilant in Europe, and to avoid large gatherings.

British security services are likely trying to rapidly determine if this was a lone wolf, a terrorist cell, whether it was Islamic State or Al Qaeda directed or inspired attack, whether this is a home-grown terror attack, or from abroad, an if there are further attacks in the offing in Manchester, London, or elsewhere. This attack does seem to suggest more sophistication than previous recent British terror attacks and plots. The use of a nail bomb type weapon suggests an increased level of planning and skill. An attack on an foyer at the end of a concert where there is little room to escape the blast suggests premeditation and planning. Prime Minister, Elizabeth May is expected to chair a meeting of the cabinet emergency “COBRA” committee tomorrow.

#Manchester #LeeRigby #Britain #IslamicState #Brexit #AlQaeda #COBRA #Europe

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