Why to Expect More Vehicle Terror Attacks

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Attacks like yesterday’s New York City incident are notoriously difficult to prevent because it’s hard for authorities to know if an individual will slam a vehicle into a crowd of people. Indeed, that’s in large part why terror groups encourage their followers to use this method of attack, says Vox.com. We’re very likely to see more of these kinds of attacks in the coming years. Vehicle attacks have a high chance of success. That’s why terrorists like them. Big, complex attacks like 9/11 usually take years of planning by many people and a decent amount of money to pull off successfully. The 9/11 attacks were the product of nearly a decade of intense planning, involved dozens of people worldwide, and were estimated to have cost al-Qaeda around $500,000.

That kind of planning leaves a paper trail, things like email and telephone records, credit card receipts and travel documents that give law enforcement and intelligence officials many chances to intercept a plot before it comes to fruition. By contrast, it doesn’t take an elaborate or complicated plot to pull off a vehicle attack. All you need is a car, truck, or van, a crowd of people, and a driver willing to kill. That helps explain why vehicles have become the terrorists’ weapon of choice. On July 14, 2016, a Tunisian-born French resident drove a 19-ton truck through crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, murdering 86 people and injuring hundreds more. There were similar incidents last December in Berlin, this March near Britain’s Houses of Parliament, in June on London Bridge, and in August in Barcelona. This string of attacks isn’t random. ISIS wants would-be militants to carry out as many strikes as they can in their home countries without consulting ISIS headquarters in Syria first. Both ISIS and al-Qaeda propaganda have called on supporters to use cars as weapons.

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