Latest Paris Attack Reveals Failings of Counter-Terrorism
France Remains Top Jihadist Target After Islamic State Knife Attack in Paris
An Islamic Jihadist has killed one and wounded four others in a knife attack in Paris. The Chechen-born attacker was on a list of suspected terrorists. The Islamic extremist was shot dead by police responding to the incident.
The attack occurred around 9pm on Saturday night in Paris’s Opera district. He was heard to shout “Allahu Akbar”, Arabic for “God is Great” and the usual battle cry of Islamic extremists, before wildly lashing out with a knife.
French police arrived within minutes of the attack. Police at first tried to bring the Muslim maniac down with a Taser. He was shot dead when he charged police shouting “I will kill you”.
Footage from a witness’s mobile phone showed people attempting to run away from the attacker in Paris’s 2nd arrondissement, a busy area, full of popular bars and restaurants. Exact locations of the attacks were in the area of Rue Saint-Augustin and Passage Choiseul.
Speaking on French radio, one witness described seeing a man carrying a knife walking down the street attacking people, searching for victims. A woman was stabbed in the neck as she stood outside a restaurant.
The identity of the person killed in the attack has not been made public, although he is understood to be a 29-year-old man. Details of those wounded have also not yet been released, although one is known to have been a visitor from Luxembourg and another from China. Authorities say that the four wounded are now all “out of danger.”
Interior Minister Gerard Collomb called an emergency meeting with security and anti-terror officials on Sunday morning to discuss Islamist links to the attack.
french authorities were unable to deny an Islamic terrorist link after Amaq, the ISIS news agency, claimed Saturday’s killer acted as a “soldier of the Islamic State.”
Failure of the Terror Watch List, “Fiche S”
Over 2,600 names are currently on France’s terror watch list of suspected Islamic extremists – known as “fiche S” – including that of the latest killer. This highlights the problem at the heart of the authorities’ efforts to counter-terrorism.
Counter-terror analyst Olivier Guitta, who runs GlobalStrat, a London-based risk consultancy, told VOA:
While the security services are excellent at identifying potential jihadists, the terrible lack of human resources means that they can monitor only a tiny fraction of the suspects. The Islamic State attack in Paris’ Opera area is the 12th successful terrorist attack since 2013. It is the second successful one this year. France remains a priority target of the jihadists in Europe.
Sources within the French intelligence service say that it is a question of manpower. They simply do not have enough people to provide adequate surveillance even when they have identified the target as a terrorist risk.
An Army of Over 7,000 Islamic Extremists
In addition to the 2,600 people on the terror watch list – those at greatest risk of militancy – there are another 5,000 suspects who have given cause for concern. All of the almost 8,000 people are known to have been radicalized.
Other European intelligence services are similarly over-stretched – Belgium in particular.
Jihad in Europe
Nathalie Goulet, a member of the French Senate foreign and defense committee, has said on record that, “You cannot put a policeman behind each of them. Especially since being reported to be in the process of radicalization does not make you a criminal.”
The Islamic Jihad in Europe is not a policing problem and will not be solved by policing methods. It is an immigration problem. As millions of Muslims pour into Europe claiming to be refugees, they bring terrorism with them.
The Saturday Night Knifeman
The Chechen-born killer was not carrying identification papers, according to French police, but has been named by French media as Khamzat Asimov. french have now confirmed that.
Asimov was naturalized as a French citizen in 2010 and since then had not acquired a criminal record. However, one of his associates had been detained for questioning by police in Strasbourg recently.
Asimov was born in 1997 in the Muslim-majority Russian republic of Chechnya. At an unknown date he emigrated to France with his parents, growing up in Strasbourg. the family were granted refugee status in 2004.
Islamic State Video
The Islamic State released a video of hooded man, whom they claim is the Chechen Khamzat Asmov. In the video, the man pledges allegiance to the Islamic State. He speaks French and only his eyes are visible.
French authorities have detained Asimov’s parents and a close friend for questioning.
Khamzat Asimov was placed on the terror watch list “fiche S” in 2016. The French equivalent of Britain’s MI5, the Direction générale de la sécurité intérieure (Directorate General for Internal Security, or DGSI) identified Asimov as a risk after several of his friends planned to travel to Syria to fight for ISIS.
The Chechen-Islamist Connection
In 2017, Pieter Van Ostaeyen, a Belgian analyst, identified a rising trend in militants. From his database of Belgian Islamic extremists who had gone to fight for ISIS in Syria, 12 were of Chechen descent and another 10 of Russian origin.
Van Ostaeyen warned that “It may be small, this ‘Eastern contingent,’ but it is likely underestimated, too.” Going against the usual pattern of ISIS media-saturation, Van Ostaeyen said on the Bellingcat news site that “Most of the ‘Eastern contingent’s’ networks seem to operate in a very covert manner. They do not expose themselves with propaganda … and even its individual members rarely show themselves off on social media.”
After Saturday’s attack, Chechnya President Ramzan Kadyrov said the Russian republic bears no responsibility for Azimov becoming a killer.
Kadyrov argued that “He was only born in Chechnya and his growing up, the formation of his personality, his views and persuasions occurred in French society.” Azimov was born a Muslim in Chechnya and when he emigrated to France he took Islam with him.
The Islamic State has actively recruited fighters in Chechnya, sending hundreds to conflicts in Syria and elsewhere. Some of the top IS commanders in Syria and Iraq were veterans of the Chechnyan war.
There are approximately 30,000 Chechens now in France.