World

'Low-tech' terror the new norm: Experts

PARIS: A man with a car, a knife and murderous intent - the London attack shows the "new norm" of low-tech terror, experts said.

Analysts who have studied similar attacks said their crude nature makes them almost impossible to prevent and easy to copy, posing a major headache for security services.

The Islamic State group on Thursday claimed the attack on the British parliament that left three dead, saying it was "carried out in response to calls to target coalition countries".

In 2014, ISIS' then propaganda chief Mohammed al-Adnani urged sympathisers in the West to attack "unbelievers" wherever they were and with whatever came to hand, with police and soldiers a particular target.

In Thursday's attack, a man mowed down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before jumping out of the vehicle and stabbing a policeman to death before he was shot dead.

The attack was reminiscent of three other attacks in the West in the past eight months.

In December, a 24-year-old Tunisian drove a stolen truck into a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people.

Last July, another radicalised Tunisian, who like the London attacker was described by ISIS as one of its "soldiers", ploughed a truck into crowds watching fireworks in the southern resort of Nice, killing 86.

The US has also been targeted by low-tech attackers who apparently acted alone.

In November, a student used a vehicle and knives to injure 13 on a university campus in Ohio.

Over the past decade, Israel has seen a growing number of vehicle ramming attacks, particularly in Jerusalem, with Palestinians using cars, trucks or even tractors to randomly mow down pedestrians, soldiers or police.

In the latest deadly incident in January, a Palestinian drove a truck at a group of Israeli cadets, killing four and wounding another 15.

Less than a day after the carnage in London, a man was arrested on Thursday after he tried to drive at high speed into a crowd of people in the Belgian port of Antwerp.

Ms Emily Winterbotham, a research fellow at the London-based Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) specialising in extremism and radicalisation, said it was inevitable there would be more such attacks.

"Attacks of this nature, the willingness of someone to use everyday objects, cars, knives, are incredibly difficult to prevent," she told AFP.

They "seem to be the new norm and we can do everything as far as possible to prevent them but they do happen and we need to prepare for that in order to respond in an appropriate manner".- AFP

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