The jihadist panic spreading across the world is unabated since string of “external” terrorist slaughters were claimed by the Islamic State in less than month. After the atrocities of Paris, Sinai and Beirut, anti-terror security services are taking no chances. Thursday Nov. 19, ISIS threatened a suicide attack on New York’s iconic Times Square, depicting a bomber unzipping his coat to display an explosive vest. New York Police rushed a large special operations team to the location as a precaution.
However, Wednesdayalso saw a rare breakthrough in the largely fruitless French search for the network behind the murder of 132 people in Paris on Nov. 13, thanks to a tip from Moroccan intelligence, a French swat team laid hands on at least six suspects after a 7-hour battle.
But, by and large, the false alarms abounding since the Paris assault are keeping security authorities rushing around, grounding passenger flights daily, blocking highways, raiding churches or evacuating shopping malls and sports arenas over the slightest suspicion of a threat, be it an unclaimed package or a video message. US-French air traffic, the London Underground, Copenhagen airport and a Belgian highway were all disrupted this week.
The minds behind the terror have calculated that even a ratio of one real attack to 500 false alarms is enough to keep Western and other societies at an unbearable pitch of hysteria, disrupt their lives, and force their jittery Western leaders and security agencies to stay off balance and rush around aimlessly.
In terrorizing the West, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi and his Islamic State minions have outdone Al Qaeda in sheer malign cunning, barbarity and universal menace, generating d a pitch of worldwide panic unseen even after Al Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks on America fourteen years ago. Recognizing ISIS mastery in the evil art of terror, Al Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahiri on Oct. 16, issued a video appealing for the two world Islamist organizations to join forces.
The security and intelligence agencies of the West and Russia are casting about desperately for inside information on the Islamic State, which is proving almost totally impermeable to penetration. The Paris and Sharm el-Sheikh episodes demonstrated once again that without intelligence, it was impossible to get to grips with a war on the jihadist group.
A rare chink in this hostile wall led to Wednesday’s raid on an apartment in Saint Denis, Paris, where several members of the network which carried out the Paris terror assault were hiding out. The French special rapid intervention BRI, which specializes in urban warfare, conducted a violent seven-hour battle with the terrorists that rocked the entire street, which is peopled mostly with migrants of North African origin. It ended with at least six arrests and three deaths. They included a woman who detonated an explosive belt, which was believed ready for the next jihadi attack, and Abdel Hamid Abaao, the man tagged as the brain behind the Nov. 13 wave of terror in Paris.
French forensic experts identified Abaao by a DNA sample. A French citizen born in Belgium, he fought with ISIS in Syria and returned home to murder his fellow citizens.
debkafile’s counterterrorism sources reveal that this operation was made possible by accurate intelligence from Morocco’s DST (Direction de la Surveillance due Territoire), reaching the French security service about the time of the group’s meeting and the address of the apartment. The DST maintains an extensive network of informers and collaborators in the Muslim districts of Paris.
But for the most part, the French, like almost all other anti-terror agencies, are groping in the dark and helpless to detect or avert the next wave of terror. Lacking a window into the closed Muslim communities of France, President Francois Hollande ordered reluctant French intelligence to seek cooperation with their Moroccan counterparts.
That was the key to the French success in nailing six live terrorists as potential sources of quality inside data that would expose fellow terrorists who plotting the next attacks before they struck. But thousands of radical supporters of ISIS are still unidentified among the millions of Muslims living in the West.
The Islamic State’s propaganda organs are making every effort to keep the panic level high. Wednesday night, Nov. 18, social networks associated with the jihadist ran an image of a Schweppes soft drink can, along with what appeared to be a fuse and a detonator, which were depicted as the improvised bomb which on Oct. 31 blew up the Russian airliner over Sinai, killing all 224 people aboard.
There were also photos of Russian passports claimed to have been scattered around the scene of the crash, offered as evidence that the terrorists were on the scene before the Egyptian and Russian responders..
Our counterterrorism sources say that these images may have been planted as red herrings to mislead the investigators of the disaster while also keeping the jihadists at the center of world attention.