In relation to Islamist inspired terrorist attacks it has been relatively quiet in Europe over the past few months but once more France has suffered another tragic attack where it is reported that three people have been killed.
The gunman, who has not been named but is believed to be a Moroccan, has been shot and killed by the French police. The incident started in Carcassone where the gunman hijacked a car killing the passenger and injuring the driver. En route to the supermarket in Trebes he shot a wounded a police officer who was jogging. Reported to be heavily armed, the gunman entered the supermarket in Trebes taking staff and shoppers hostage.
It is reported that the gunman had pledged allegiance to Islamic State and demanded the release of Salah Abdeslam who was involved in the November 2015 Paris attacks and who was recently convicted of terrorist offences linked to those attacks. Although more information has yet to be released, it does appear that once more we have witnessed another tragic act of terrorism committed by a person who has been inspired by the Islamist narrative of the group Islamic State rather than acting under direct orders of the group. While Islamic State have lost control of key territory in Syria/Iraq and Libya, this incident reveals how potent the narrative of Islamic State still is in influencing the vulnerable and inspiring people to carry out acts of violence in the group’s name. Their media activities via electronic communications has not decreased and this attack should put us all on notice of the potential threat Islamist groups still pose to Western states’ security.
We can all play our part by passing information of activity we think is suspicious to the police and in the UK this is part of the current ACT Campaign Action Counters Terrorism) where if you are suspicious where you can either call 0800 789 321 or compete an online form.
I will be discussing this incident in more detail on BBC Radio Scotland just after 6pm (GMT) today.