Terrorism and extremism weekly summary 24 - 30 July

Europe

On Friday 28 July, a 26-year-old migrant born in the United Arab Emirates attacked shoppers with a knife in a supermarket in Hamburg, Germany, killing one person and injuring six others. He was later detained by the police with help from onlookers. The man was allegedly supposed to leave the country, since his asylum claim was denied, but could not be deported due to missing necessary personal identification documents. The attacker's nationality has not yet been confirmed. Some witnesses from the crime scene stated that the man was shouting Islamist slogans during the attack. The police spokeswoman did not confirm this information, but an Islamist subtext was established. The man was addicted to drugs and mentally unstable.

On Wednesday 26 July, a 36-year-old man suspected of spreading terrorist propaganda was arrested in East London. A raid on his apartment was ordered as a part of the investigation. A 50-year-old woman, also suspected of association with Islamist propaganda, was arrested the day before in the southeastern part of London. The suspects were discovered and arrested thanks to their activity on social media, and, in relation to this, the police seized multiple communication devices which are now being examined.

The police in Brest, Belgium, arrested a man, who was allegedly hosting and managing a pro-jihadist web page, on Wednesday 26 July. The man has been the focus of intelligence services for a long time, a raid on his house took place last year.  According to police sources, he also often visited other jihadist websites, and, moreover, was labelled mentally unstable in the past. In May of this year, a 36-year-old woman from the same area was arrested and sentenced to eight months in prison for a similar misdemeanour related to Islamist websites.

Middle East and South Asia

According to a spokesman for the Turkish police, 26 people were arrested on Thursday 27 July during extensive raids in Istanbul, with 17 of them being people of other nationalities suspected of ties to the so-called Islamic State (IS). The operation, which took place at 14 locations in 9 of Istanbul's districts, was conducted by Turkish police counterterrorism units supported by special army forces. Some of the arrested were people who visited Syria and allegedly took part in the conflict there.

A bomb attack in Lahore, Pakistan, claimed at least 25 victims on Monday 24 July, with 52 more people being injured. A suicide attacker drove a motorbike into policemen conducting traffic at a busy main road and exploded afterwards. Nine police officers were among the dead. The Islamist group Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan took credit for the attack. Lahore is a common target for Islamist attacks, with the worst one so far happening in 2016, when a suicide attacker killed 70 people, including women and children.

A suicide bombing attack shook the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Monday 31 July. The target of the attack was the Iraqi embassy, situated in the Shahr-e-Now district, away from the fortified and heavily guarded so-called green zone, where most other countries' embassies are. Some of the attackers, armed with assault rifles, took stand in the building neighbouring the embassy and are in a shootout with the police. More information is not available so far, but police sources estimate casualties. The IS took responsibility for the attack.

Other regions

According to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, the Australian police thwarted a planned terror attack on Saturday 29 June, when perpetrators wanted to attack the Sydney Airport with an improvised explosive device. Increased security measures have been introduced at airports on Thursday after a warning from local intelligence services. The increased police activity led to the arrests of four men during raids in several neighbourhoods in Sydney. Another attack took place in Melbourne last month, with one person being killed and three policemen injured, which the IS took responsibility for.

About author: Matěj Novák

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