ISIS Christmas Attacks: There Are No Safe Places Anymore
The United Kingdom’s new Defense Secretary Galvin Williamson has gone on record and said that Britain and every other country that provided the Islamic State (ISIS) with foreign fighters or terrorists in Iraq and Syria should hunt them down and kill them and that they not be allowed to return home.
Not coincidently, British drone strikes in Syria and Iraq have increased dramatically. This comes on the heels of the arrest of two British ISIS supporters, Naa’imur Zakariyah Rahman and Mohammed Aqip Imran, for their plot to carry out a bomb attack on Number 10 Downing Street and assassinate British Prime Minister Theresa May. As well, another ISIS want to be terrorist, Husnain Rashid, has been arrested for calling on supporters to kill four-year-old Prince George at his school. More worryingly, it has emerged that some 850 British citizens went abroad to fight with ISIS in Syria and Iraq and some 450 have been allowed to return to the United Kingdom. The numbers in other countries are just as worrying, of France’s 1900 ISIS fighters some 271 have returned home, of Germany’s 915 some 300 are on German soil, and of Canada’s 180 ISIS terrorists some 60 or so are back at home harboring their hostile intent and awaiting their opportunity to strike. It may be just around the corner.
ISIS is ready to carry out terrorist attacks in Europe and North America over the Christmas holidays. Turkey has warned the European Union that several ISIS fighters have been smuggled into the country and are headed to Western Europe and beyond. British security forces have warned of the increased risk of terror attacks over Christmas holidays and even taken to the fortification of Christmas markets against vehicle attacks. In German a group of Syrian men were arrested on suspicion of plotting Christmas market attacks in Northwestern Germany like the 2016 Berlin Market attack and then released by police. ISIS supporters are reportedly sharing a new image on-line that tells supporters to attack Christmas markets in Paris on foot and to “make New Year’s Day Hell.” As European countries have fortified their Christmas markets to deter ISIS vehicle attacks, ISIS is moving to defeat the defenses by attacking shoppers from within the barricades on foot with edged weapons, guns, or bombs. The very barriers put in place to protect innocent shoppers will be used to trap them in a kill zone.
These holiday season threats are not new, Isis has threatened an attack on New York at Christmas time. The image shows Santa Claus standing on a low roof next to a box of dynamite looking out over a crowd of shoppers in Times Square. ISIS supporters are also circulating images of London's Regent Street and Christmas lights, and Paris' Eiffel Tower with a Christmas markets in the foreground. Images of ISIS fighters and blood have been superimposed on the holiday scenes, with a message in English, French, and German stating, “Soon on your holidays.” A recent ISIS poster emerged of a terrorist overlooking St Peter's Square in the Vatican with rocket launcher, along with a message, “Do not hold back with your blood, the reward is paradise” and warned that 'the crusaders' feast is approaching.' Gilles de Kerchove, the European Union’s Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, has warned that ISIS could use drones in Europe to drop biological weapons on crowded public spaces.
Without question, Christmas markets, concerts, shows, shopping malls and districts, Church and worship services, and transit hubs, make for a target rich environment for ISIS terrorists and their lone wolfs over the Chanukah and Christmas Holiday period where the targets continue to be families with young children, religious minorities, and the LGBTQQ community. While the bulk of these attacks will come in the Middle East particularly, Egypt, Iraq, and Syria, and will likely be directed at religious minorities, the West is likely to see their fair share of Christmas season attacks. These attacks could come in the form of ISIS vehicle, edged-weapon, gun, and bomb attacks. We may even see an ISIS Cyber attack as they have threatened one for tomorrow under the name of the “Electronic Ghosts of the Caliphate.” These attacks could come almost anywhere and at any time. ISIS goal is to prove that they remain undefeated, that their Caliphate continues in the hearts of its fighters, supporters and families, even as it looks for a new home in Africa or Asia, and that there are no safe places anymore. Terrorist and insurgents win when government’s over react ,and when they cannot protect their citizens anymore. ISIS Christmas and Holiday season attacks are geared to the that point, there are no safe places anymore, and that your government cannot protect you from the Islamic State.
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