Tuesday night, June 20, a terrorist detonated a bomb belt at the Brussels central train station, shouting “Allahu Akbar!” Police shot him dead. The explosion was small and there were no victims this time, but it was the second Islamic State attack in West Europe in two days
Monday, another suicide bomber rammed a police van on the Champs Elysees in Paris with a vehicle crammed with gas canisters and guns. He was later identified as Adam Dzaziri, 31. Found in his apartment was a large cache of guns and explosives and a note describing how he had sworn allegiance to ISIS leader Ibrahim Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi shortly before his suicidal attack.
Earlier this month, Islamist terrorists struck the two British cities of Manchester and London, murdering 22 in the first and six in the second.
Oddly, no one appears to connect the outbreak of terror in Europe with same-style attacks in two Middle East capitals – Tehran on June 7 and Jerusalem on June 16. The West is adjusting to the fact that free societies are natural preys for Islamist terrorists and beginning to lay on layers of security at potential targets. But they disregard the Middle East as falling under a different category.
This kind of doublethink carries its own perils. While Iran eventually confirmed ISIS responsibility for striking its parliament and a national shrine, killing seven people, Israel’s military and government authorities tried to pretend that the coordinated attack by three Palestinians, in which a policewoman was stabbed to death outside the Old City of Jerusalem, was a “local incident.”
Opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog alone was ready to call the spade a spade and admit that this was the first ISIS attack in Israel’s capital. By refusing to identify the hand behind terror, security authorities are fighting the bane with tied hands.
All in all, ISIS’ 2017 Ramadan offensive has uncovered three major vulnerabilities:
1. The battlefield setbacks sustained by ISIS in Syria and Iraq have no bearing on its capacity to wield an efficient machine of terror in multiple countries outside war arenas. The jihadist group gave prior notice of its Ramadan offensive, fully confident of its ability to follow through in one place after another.
2. Time and again, it has been shown that the perpetrators, or most of them, had been known to the security and intelligence agencies of the affected countries. This came to light after the outrages in Manchester (22 dead), London (6 dead) and Paris (no victims).
Whereas, half a dozen European countries are on high terrorist alert and effectively deploying armed police and soldiers at potential primary target locations for cutting down casualties, their intelligence agencies are not up to the task of prevention.
3. After the Jerusalem attack, Israeli police and military spokesmen insisted that ISIS has no network present in the Palestinian areas of Judea and Samaria. At the same time, Palestinian jails on the West Bank hold at least 60 detainees caught maintaining ties with ISIS. Suspects have also come before Israeli courts. Israel, which has its hands full dealing with Palestinian terror, appears to be in denial about the lurking Islamist menace – at least hopes to keep the public ignorant.