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French attacks could inspire next generation of terrorists: Expert

“The sort of attack we’ve seen in Toulouse is not a model that is unique to France — it could be replicated in Germany, in Britain, or elsewhere — and that is a real concern, especially in the lead-up to the Olympics in London later this year.
“The Olympics are of symbolic significance, because the day after the 2012 games were awarded to London, in 2005, we had the 7/7 bombings [on public transport, in which 52 people were killed].
“And so there is a sort of a scar associated with that, and it could be that those who sympathize with the motives of the bombers see the Olympics as a symbolic time to attack.”
But he said counter-terrorism forces faced a major challenge in tackling ‘lone wolf’ attacks.
“They are a real headache for the authorities, because they are very difficult to thwart: If a ‘cell’ is only one or two people it’s a lot harder to monitor their activities, to trace their networks, and so on.
“In previous cases, the ability of the authorities to disrupt the planning stage has been low, because you don’t get the leakage of information that you get with a larger cell.”
Merah, the suspect in the French killings, is a supporter of radical Islamist group Forsane Alizza, the Knights of Glory, France’s Interior Minister Claude Geant said.
Gohel said the organization, which has members in Paris and Limoges in central France, acts as an “antechamber towards terrorism,” encouraging its followers to go abroad for training.
“Before it was banned earlier this year, it had posted a chilling warning on Facebook, encouraging its followers to attack Americans, Jews and French soldiers,” said Gohel. “Unfortunately, that threat seems to have been carried out in recent days.”
The security analyst told CNN al Qaeda’s role in the Toulouse and Montauban killings remained unclear.
“There are two schools of thought — that it could be an al Qaeda-controlled attack, or that it could be an al Qaeda-inspired attack — and either way, it’s a real concern
“If it’s al Qaeda-controlled, it shows that al Qaeda is able to recruit European-based followers, and to train and guide them into carrying out attacks.
“If it’s al Qaeda-inspired, then it’s the first ‘lone wolf’ act of terror of its kind to succeed in the West. There have been many al Qaeda-inspired attempts, but so far they have all failed — are we seeing that in this instance it has succeeded?”

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Posted by on Jul 26 2012. Filed under International. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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