After recent terror attack in Europe, the U.S. State Department has issued a renewed alert ahead of summer months, saying extremists could carry out attacks ‘with little or no warning’.
The US State Department is warning Americans living in and traveling to Europe of the ongoing threat of terrorist attacks on the continent through the summer. The alert come weeks after deadly terror attacks and law enforcement actions that have been taking place throughout Europe. Law enforcement actions have lead to the arrest of 11 people in London. London’s Metropolitan Police said that the 11-people taken into custody are believed to have ties to the Islamic State Group (ISIS). Two of the 11 arrested are still in custody. London Police only identifies them as a 58-year-old man and a 27-year-old man.
In a new travel alert issued on Monday, the State Department said the Islamic State group, al-Qaeda and their affiliates retain the “ability and to plan and execute” attacks in Europe. It said US officials remain concerned about the potential for future attacks, following a series of strikes in France, Russia, Sweden and Britain.
The department called on Americans to “be alert to the possibility that terrorist sympathizers or self-radicalized extremists may conduct attacks with little or no warning.” These kinds of attacks can be hard to stop because the people that conduct the attacks have little to no support from a terrorist network and helps them stay under the radar from law enforcement.
The alert said US citizens should be especially vigilant at large, high profile events, particularly during the summer travel season. “Terrorists persist in employing a variety of tactics, including firearms, explosives, using vehicles as ramming devices, and sharp-edged weapons that are difficult to detect prior to an attack,” it said.
The department’s last terror alert for Europe was issued on November 21 last year and expired on February 20. Monday’s alert expires on September 1.
Europe has seen a steady drip of jihadist attacks in recent months. IS jihadists have claimed deadly attacks in London, Berlin, Nice and most recently in Paris’s Champs Elysees.
Experts have said, though, that under the pressure of the international coalition in Iraq and Syria as well as improved efforts by intelligence services, IS has seen its ability to mount complex, group attacks weaken.
Coalition air strikes in IS territory in Iraq and Syria have killed or forced into hiding many organizers of the attacks.
Turkey’s shutting down the migrant route to Europe has also made it much harder for IS followers to move within striking distance of targets like Paris and London.
The attack that killed five people outside the Houses of Parliament in London in March, and others carried out by individuals, “are above all indications of IS’s disintegration,” radicalization expert Farhad Khosrokhavar wrote in March. These events serve to terrorize the public, “but they are symbolic last stands, which mark the end of a jihadist state that followers… want to be endless but which is coming to an end.
Into the void left by the smashing of organized rings, have stepped “rather unstable, even marginal, individuals who police have trouble linking to Daesh,” Olivier Roy, a specialist in political Islam, said, using an acronym for the Islamic State.
Yet those attackers come with another dimension of dangers because they often act alone, making them harder to detect. They also do not need anything more than a vehicle or a knife to kill. These kinds of attacks are low tech and do not require much funding. But they can have a very long lasting impact on the in any community.