ISIS-Inspired Attack On Halloween Means Thanksgiving and Christmas Terror Atrocities Will Likely Tar
Sadly, on Tuesday of this week, Halloween, shortly after 3 pm local time, a rental truck mowed down and killed eight innocents and injured 11 others on bicycle-way in lower Manhattan, close to the site of the September 11th memorial and near several schools.
The attacker then crashed his vehicle into a school bus and in an all too familiar pattern dismounted the vehicle shouting, “Allah Akbar” armed with a pellet and paintball gun where he was shot by police. The terrorist has been named as Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old Uzbek national who entered the US in 2010 and who worked as an Uber driver. The terrorist remains in critical condition and was an apparent supporter of the Islamic State (ISIS). Interestingly, over the last two years, the FBI has charged five men from Uzbekistan and one from Kazakhstan living in Brooklyn for providing material support to ISIS. It is not known if Saipov related to that investigation. On Monday, a French pro-ISIS media unit, known as the Centre Mediatique An-Nur, reportedly carried a specific threat for Halloween, and mentioned the warning on the encrypted app Telegram and on ISIS-affiliated Twitter accounts. The terrorist attack on Tuesday follows the pattern or trend of previously inspired ISIS attacks.
The attacking vehicle was a rental truck and easily acquired for the assault. The attacker, a taxi driver by profession, chose an easy access route to the area of the attack, and then went after civilians in a confined space where escape was difficult. The date, time, and location, as well as the crash into a school bus, suggests that the targets were children and family members. At this time, it is believed that Saipov was an ISIS-inspired attacker and that he acted alone and was not part of a cell. He was armed with non-lethal weapons to complicate police response, and to force police to shoot the attacker to ensure martyrdom at the hands of the enemy. The attacker seems to have radicalized quickly, and without a great deal of warning, meaning he was not under police surveillance.
On a final point of analysis, it will be heavily debated in the media whether Saipov is an ISIS agent or a ‘lone wolf’ acting on ISIS behalf, but at the end of the day it does not matter. What is now clear is that the lone wolf or ISIS-inspired terrorist may be more dangerous in Western democracies that the returning jihadis from Syria and Iraq. The known jihadis and supporters tend to be monitored and under surveillance, perhaps even under arrest. The ISIS-inspired terrorists are largely walking around unknown to authorities and free to carryout their atrocities with little or no warning at the expense of women and children who are now the apparent true targets of jihad.