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Europe’s terror wave shows no sign of ending

Belgian security services were left exposed by Abdesalem Lassoued's killing. Credit: Getty

October 17, 2023 - 1:46pm

The chilling link between international sport and street terrorism is one that haunts all of us who remember the most murderous night in the recent history of Paris.

It was at the Stade de France on Friday 13 November 2015 that three suicide bombers attacked a France-Germany football match. 

This was the start of a horrific evening of carnage that saw 130 people across the city killed, and hundreds more wounded, by fanatics swearing allegiance to ISIS. 

Operatives linked to the same cell carried out similarly cowardly attacks on civilians in Belgium in March 2016, murdering 32 with bombs at Brussels airport and in a metro station. 

The city was once again hit on Monday night, when another alleged ISIS terrorist shot two Sweden football fans dead before their team’s planned game against Belgium.

The match was abandoned because of fears that Abdesalem Lassoued, a 45-year-old Tunisian, was on his way to attack a crowd of some 35,000 people. 

Despite the tall and rotund Lassoued wearing a bright orange hi-vis vest, and brandishing an automatic rifle, it took some 12 hours to track him down. Farcically, he was travelling on a public bus before police finally cornered him in a café and shot him dead. 

In the case of Mohammed Mogouchkov, a 20-year-old alleged ISIS terrorist from a Russian immigrant family, he was meant to be under 24-hour surveillance before stabbing a teacher to death and wounding two others at a school in Arras, northern France, on Friday morning. Mogouchkov was arrested soon after the bloodbath, and remains in custody.

His background in the Russian Caucasus — an area long connected with extreme Islamist terrorism — was similar to that of Abdoullakh Anzorov, a Chechen refugee aged 18, who decapitated a history teacher in the suburbs of Paris exactly three years ago.

What all this tells us is that the chain of ISIS and Al-Qaeda terrorist attacks that started with the Charlie Hebdo murders in 2015 is by no means over. Worse still, it is quite obvious that the French and Belgium security services are no nearer preventing them from happening. 

The knee-jerk reaction by successive administrations has been to flood the country with armed police and soldiers. French President Emmanuel Macron pledged an extra 7,000 troops on the streets following the Arras attack, as his ministers linked it to heightened tensions caused by the Israel-Hamas war. 

The Middle East conflict was regularly imported to France in the 1970s by so-called “super terrorists” such as Carlos the Jackal and Abu Nidal, and those dark days may be repeated. A massive pro-Palestine lobby in France regularly complains about the way their marches and demonstrations are banned, as they accuse western governments of being too closely allied with Israel.

Whatever the motives of the street killers, there is little doubt that manic individuals with only basic weapons — the school attackers used kitchen knives and a meat cleaver — can easily evade scrutiny before striking. 

Sport fans in France for events such as the Rugby World Cup — England play South Africa in Paris on Saturday and the France football team is up against Scotland in Lille on Tuesday — should be particularly wary. 

Crowds are the most vulnerable but — as many of us first learnt first-hand at a football match eight years ago — intense terrorist violence can happen anywhere, and at any time.


Peter Allen is a journalist and author based in Paris.

peterallenparis

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D Walsh
D Walsh
8 months ago

Stop taking in “refugees” from the Islamic World and maybe the problem won’t continue to get worse

Last edited 8 months ago by D Walsh
Caty Gonzales
Caty Gonzales
8 months ago

“…they accuse Western governments of being too closely allied with Israel”.
We OUGHT to be closely allied with Israel. If that is an issue for you, maybe seek refuge in another country.

D Walsh
D Walsh
8 months ago
Reply to  Caty Gonzales

Why ?

And, I’m not going anywhere, I see no reason to support Israel. So I don’t

Last edited 8 months ago by D Walsh
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
8 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Because Israel is a democracy.

D Walsh
D Walsh
8 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Brainwashed by the media more like

Caty Gonzales
Caty Gonzales
8 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Yep.

Max Price
Max Price
8 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Because Israel is a modern, civilised society and the Palestinians are backward barbarians.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
8 months ago
Reply to  Caty Gonzales

Why ought we be? What has Israel ever done for us in order for Britain to be allied with it? What do we owe a country that armed the Argentinians during the Falklands?

Daniel P
Daniel P
8 months ago

I fear that what we are seeing is just the beginning of a long nightmare to come for Europe, the US and Canada.

The fact is that we have all allowed way way too many people from foreign cultures to migrate to our countries and we have done it far faster than we are able to assimilate them. They end up living in social ghettos, able to isolate themselves from being effected by the larger culture and its values.

The result? We have parallel cultures and societies with vastly different values, values that are often in conflict, living within the same space. The immigrant culture becomes parasitic to the host nation. In a democracy, where these people have the right to vote, to protest, to appeal to government, it is a recipe for conflict and violence. It also poses the risk that the immigrant society, if it grows large enough, can subvert the values of the host culture, leaving the members of the original host culture feeling that they literally do not live in the country they grew up in.

That is problem enough. Making it worse is that some of these “migrants” are not migrants at all, but are arriving with the sole purpose of fitting in until either they are ordered or an opportunity for independent action arises for them to commit some horrid act.

There was a vote taken recently in a small city in Minnesota by the town council. The city has seen a dramatic shift in its population over the last 15 yrs and the council is now almost entirely Muslim. It voted to ban gay pride flags on city property. The left wing activists and gay activists were extraordinarily upset about this. They could not understand how these Muslim immigrants that they supported as another oppressed people could do this to them. For its part, the city council could not understand why the gays and leftists were upset, they felt that the city should not be supporting those kinds of things as it violated the values of so many in the community.

What these activists had failed to understand is that they made a really bad, but common, assumption. They ASSUMED that because these Muslims had been “oppressed” and that these groups had marched and protested and said all kinds of virtue signalling things about them, that the Muslims would therefore always band together with them, be fellow travelers. I’m sure that the Muslim immigrants did appreciate the support but I am also sure that they were not going to sell out their core values or give up the idea that they moved to the US to be allowed to freely live as they see proper and that they firmly believe in democracy and majority rule. The gay and leftist activists never stopped to consider what that would mean in the long run for them.

That, I think, is a microcosm of what can and will likely happen across Europe, the US and Canada, unless they all start making large changes, show a willingness to deport those who will not assimilate, reduce the volume of in migration and start enforcing the practice of the host nations norms, cultural expectations and values. We might begin by immediately deporting anyone who expresses a desire to hurt the host nation or its institutions or elements of its society or who commits crimes. We need to be a lot slower about awarding citizenship and voting rights. We need to mandate that immigrants be spread out and not allowed to concentrate in neighborhoods and communities large enough for them to self isolate. They are NOT citizens, they are guests, and guests that are asking to stay in our homes permanently, and we have the right and the obligation to make sure that they are assimilated in a way that allows both them and the citizens of the host nation to move forward peacefully. But we must be willing to be hard, to make hard choices and stick to them and we must be prepared to be called mean and inhumane and disrespectful.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
8 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Excellent post.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
8 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Good post. I think of the Scandinavian countries and the failure of assimilating the refugees from the Middle East and Muslims from Africa. Sweden’s generous social welfare system was attractive to them, and consequently, they have a large population on welfare, who have no desire to learn Swedish or work. What they have done is create violent drug gangs and militant Muslims. Sweden’s crime rate is the highest ever, and people are angry and scared. Remember the bombings? Sometimes I just don’t think Western culture is a good mix with Islam.

j watson
j watson
8 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

20k gun deaths in 2022 in US.
How many killings by Muslim extremists? Tiny fraction as you’ll know.
I actually concur that some ‘naturalisation’ process should be mandated in Europe and N American countries. Of course some nut-jobs would still get through, much as we have plenty of indigenous nut jobs too. But there is something about rights and responsibilities we could better engrain, or at least try to.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
8 months ago

As the situation in Gaza deteriorates we will see a flood of people looking to settle in Western cities. If you are a child growing up in Gaza or the West Bank, this is what you get to watch on TV:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lZ27fj2XNM
Having spent your young life being thusly indoctrinated, and having those messages reinforced by your parents, teachers, community and religious leaders, is it any surprise that the violence continues generation after generation?
What, honestly, are the chances of someone with that mindset assimilating in UK culture? Fitting in with British values of tolerance and religious freedom?
Who thinks that Europe’s Jewish communities will be safe. We saw Stars of David daubed on the front doors of Jewish homes in Berlin at the weekend. Can we really pretend what happens next will be a surprise that we couldn’t see coming? All the while claiming it was something we were powerless to prevent?
It is often misquoted but JS Mill said it first, and best: “Let not anyone pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion. Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing. He is not a good man who, without a protest, allows wrong to be committed in his name, and with the means which he helps to supply, because he will not trouble himself to use his mind on the subject.”

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
8 months ago

I live in an area with a high Jewish population, so I thought that I might broach the subject with a couple of staff I know at my local Sainsbury’s; but how would you do it and where would it lead ?

I started looking at all the customers and wondering about numbers but some reacted uneasily and I thought I’d get accused of Jew-spotting.

Meanwhile, the women in hijabs (some of whom are Syrian refugees I think) are all looking extremely edgy and uncomfortable.

Believe me; I’ve never wanted to live in a Little England and quite like some diversity. But I can see now as I get older that the multicultural dream is very thin and fragile stuff and the powers that have let or encouraged this to happen will be clueless about how to deal with the problems if it suffers a sudden collapse.

Last edited 8 months ago by Mike Downing
Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
8 months ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

Your final paragraph reflects my own views perfectly. Specifically: I’ve never been a member of the “Islam = bad” crew (although I am a member of the “political Islam = bad” crew…mixing religion and politics is always going to be trouble), but how do we manage the consequences and excesses of the more problematic strands of it?

Last edited 8 months ago by Katharine Eyre
j watson
j watson
8 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

How did we manage the Troubles in NI where 3.5k were killed and 10k maimed? We remain some way off that figure in terms of Radical Islamic terrorism in the UK.
Of course the dynamic is not the same, but dealing with extremists something we’ve handled before.

starkbreath
starkbreath
8 months ago

Get rid of the terrorist watchlist and other related bullshit and deport anyone who supports jihadism. Problem solved.

odd taff
odd taff
8 months ago

We have a tiny number of actual terrorists and a much much larger number of Co-religionists who at the least will look away and occasionally assist the terrorists. An isolated bunch of terrorists would be relatively easy to round up but they are able to hide in their support networks.

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
8 months ago
Reply to  odd taff

Nothing new … that’s a perfect description of Northern Ireland’s Troubles.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
8 months ago

Islamism is a terrible thing but it didn´t arrive in Europe with the first North African migrants of the 1950s and 1960s.
However, a lot of the modern Salafist discourse fed off the Arab states warring with Israel. It also created a European Left enamoured with the idea of Palestinian liberation. They were responsible for the radical chic back then (Carlos, Baader-Meinhof in the 1970s) and have left their legacy in the blind neo-Marxist support for Hamas today.

Peter Kwasi-Modo
Peter Kwasi-Modo
8 months ago

During the cold War, when the UK uncovered a Soviet spy ring, an appropriate number of Russian diplomats was expelled. The diplomats may or may not have been directly involved: the number expelled simply reflected the gravity of the espionage. Nobody whinged about the diplomats’ human rights.
Europe needs to adopt a similar response to jihadist terror by expelling an approprite number of know jihad supporters whenever an act of jihadi terrorism occurs. There are plenty of candidates on each country’s watch list.

Arthur G
Arthur G
8 months ago

Why not just expel them all now?

j watson
j watson
8 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

Where would you send them AG? Who do you have such deals with?
I mean were it poss to identify those with active terrorism support credentials we might be onto something, but we’d need deals and which country would accept such people – Islamic terrorism kills far more Muslims than anyone else.

D Glover
D Glover
8 months ago

A 70 year old Englishman called Terrence Carney has been stabbed and killed in Hartlepool by a Moroccan refugee called Ahmed Alid.
The media response has been strangely muted. Presumably if it had been the other way round the murder of a defenceless refugee would have proved the existence of far-right terrorism.
My second response is; why Morocco? It’s not at war. It’s considered safe for British tourists to go on holiday there. Why should anyone flee Morocco and be accepted as a refugee?

D Walsh
D Walsh
8 months ago

Israel now blowing up Hospitals
Stay classy Israel

But its a democracy, so you tell me I have to support them. No thanks

Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
8 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Stay classy and let the Hamas headquarters and commanders underneath the hospital keep nice and safe.

Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
8 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Do you always believe what Hamas tells you?

D Walsh
D Walsh
8 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

Of course not, I don’t support Hamas. but just because I hate Hamas, doesn’t mean I should support Israel

You don’t have to support Israel or the things they do

Sharon Overy
Sharon Overy
8 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Hamas’ headquarters and bomb factories are built beneath hospitals and schools. They boast about it. That’s why Israel leaflet drop to warn citizens where they intend to target, so they can get to safety.

Hamas don’t – the death of Jews is their intent.

Spot the difference?

D Walsh
D Walsh
8 months ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

How do seriously ill people in a hospital get to safety

You people are crazy

Gorka Sillero
Gorka Sillero
8 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Did you celebrate Hamas attack to those kids at the festival, like Corbyn?
You people are crazy

D Walsh
D Walsh
8 months ago
Reply to  Gorka Sillero

I DO NOT SUPPORT HAMAS, I also refuse to support Israel