A car, a kitchen knife and an Islamist-inspired killer have brought chaos to central London. One person asked, “IT’S a simulation, no?” But as the emergency services hurried into action and a helicopter flew low overhead, it became apparent that this was no simulation.
It was an anniversary attack celebrating the terrorist assault on Brussels airport last year in which a man using a car as a lethal weapon mowed down people on Westminster Bridge, crashed into gates outside Parliament and used a large kitchen knife to murder a policeman before being shot dead himself. It was precisely the kind of attack that Britain’s security authorities have been expecting. It was also the kind that is most difficult to prevent.
The perpetrator was inspired by Islamist extremism. Although such an attack was anticipated, the grim reality is that it may be the precursor to many similar ones because IS, which may be on the point of losing its so-called caliphate in Iraq and Syria, has online propaganda that remains as slick and seductive as ever.
Two other people died and around 40 were injured, seven critically, including one woman who fell or jumped from the bridge into the River Thames. Among the injured was a party of French schoolchildren and three other police officers. As news of the attack spread, Parliament went into “lockdown” and the part of London that symbolises Britain’s democracy was sealed off.
Only hours before the attack, Turkey’s President Eredogan predicted – or did he warn – that Europeans across the world will not be able to walk the streets safely if they keep up their current attitude towards Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned. “If Europe continues this way, no European in any part of the world can walk safely on the streets,” Mr Erdogan told journalists in Ankara.
Turkey has been mired in a diplomatic mess with Germany and the Netherlands after they banned Turkish officials from campaigning in support of an April referendum on boosting the Turkish President’s powers. Turkish government officials are still participating in events for expatriate Turks across Europe, but are not campaigning for the referendum, the Turkish deputy prime minister has said. Numan Kurtulmus said the row had helped Turks in Europe better understand the constitutional changes proposed in the referendum.
CAN THIS HAPPEN IN AMERICA?
In response to the attack, the U.S. government ordered nine airlines from the Middle East and North Africa to indefinitely ban electronic devices on direct flights to the United States from 10 airports. The ban covers almost all types of electronic devices in the cabin, except phones, small cameras, and approved medical devices. The Department of Homeland Security did not cite any specific credible threat, but said in a statement Tuesday there are “reasons to be concerned” about terrorist attempts to circumvent aviation security. “The record of terrorist attempts to destroy aircraft in flight is longstanding and well-known,” the statement read. Terrorist groups are “aggressively pursuing innovative methods” to target airlines, including “smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items.”
London’s Muslim Mayor drew the ire of President Donald Trump when he said, “Terror attacks are part of living in big city, says London Mayor Sadiq Khan.”
“You have to be kidding me?!” Mr. Trump said.
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ISLAMIC INVASION OF EUROPE