British Intelligence Fails Again
Will the London Attack Lead to Reform?
Following the third terror attack in the United Kingdom in two-and-a-half months, on Sunday British Prime Minister Theresa May went before the cameras to declare that “enough is enough” and outline a new round of anti-terrorism legislation. She pinned the blame for Britain’s vulnerability to terrorism on excessive toleration of extremist ideology—citing the “safe spaces” that exist online, and in British society generally, protecting the open expression of Islamist extremism. Addressing the problem, she said, will require “difficult, and often embarrassing, conversations.”
The string of recent violence began on March 22 with an attack in Westminster, near the British Parliament. A 52-year-old convert to Islam, Khaled Masood, used a white van to strike pedestrians on a bridge. He then ran on foot into Parliament’s New Palace Yard, where he killed a guard before he was shot. On May 22 came the suicide bombing at a concert in Manchester, which was attended mainly by young girls and women. Salman Abedi, the bomber, was a local man who had traveled to Libya with his family some months earlier. He had returned to Manchester just four days prior to the attack.
The latest tragedy came last Saturday when, again, terrorists used a white rental van to mow down several people, this time on the London Bridge. The jihadists got out of the van, pulled out 12-inch-long hunting knives, and proceeded to attack patrons at a popular bar area on the South Bank. Gruesome eyewitness accounts suggested that the terrorists were imitating the methods of beheading popularized by the Islamic State (ISIS) in its videos. The mayhem lasted less than ten minutes before police shot the attackers. The three men on London Bridge wore fake suicide vests that triggered a “shoot-to-kill” order. Speculation is that the imitation vests were meant to deter bystanders from tackling them during the attack.
As a result of these three strikes, 34 people have been killed and many more injured. All five perpetrators are dead, only the Manchester suicide bomberRead the full article on ForeignAffairs.com