-FBI investigating stabbing attack on a police officer at Bishop International Airport in Flint as an act of terrorism. The attacker Amor Ftouh from Canada reportedly yelled “Allahu Akhbar” before carrying out the attack.
-According to the FBI, Ftough seemed disappointed that he didn’t die a martyr in the attack, shouting something similar to ‘you have killed people in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and we are all going to die.’
-Currently, there are several other attempted terror attacks around the world also being investigated by counterterrorism officials in which there has to-date been no claim of responsibility by any group, including:
June 6 Notre Dame hammer attack: An Algerian man, Farid Ikken, attacked a police officer with a hammer outside the Notre Dame Cathedral. Police shot the man who is now in the hospital and has been charged with murder. The case has been referred to the Paris prosecutor as an attempted terror attack. Police also found the attacker in possession of kitchen knives, and a search of his apartment yielded a video in which Ikken pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.
June 19 Champs Elysees car ramming attack: A car rammed a police vehicle on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. Police opened fire killing driver Djaziri Adam Lotfi. Investigators found an AK47 assault rifle, handguns, gas canisters and explosives. The attacker left a note to his relatives, pledging allegiance to the Islamic State.
June 20 Brussels train station attack: The suspect tried to blow up a suitcase bomb packed with nails and gas bottles. He was shot by soldiers patrolling the station as he ran towards them shouting, “Allahu Akhbar.” Belgian authorities have identified the man as Oussama Zariouh, from Molenbeek, a hotbed of Islamist radicalization and believe the attempted attack could have caused mass causalities had the device detonated successfully.
Who wants to claim a failure?
The Islamic State, which has been behind many of the recent terror attacks, has been quick to claim responsibility for attacks in London and Manchester in the UK, as well as Iran, Israel, The Philippines and continued attacks in Iraq and Syria.
While experts sometimes doubt the full validity of ISIS claims for terror attacks, its Amaq newswire has been accepted as somewhat credible, albeit a major propaganda outlet for the terror group.
The Foreign Desk recently reported on an arrest in Germany which helped shed light on the validity of some of the claims.
While there are those who may suggest the above attacks may not necessarily be the work of the Islamic State, perhaps there’s a pattern emerging where ISIS doesn’t claim a ‘failed’ attack.
For ISIS, it’s quantity over quality:
For ISIS, long gone are the days of Osama Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda style retreat and emerge with a mega plot. ISIS cannot count on the manpower, the intelligence or the risk for those types of large-scale attacks. Instead, the terror group has revolutionized the way it calls upon recruits to launch small-scale, local attacks where they live instead of going to Syria or Iraq. The terror group has put out videos and brochures demonstrating how everyday items like kitchen knives, axes and cars can be used to launch a variety of relatively easy attacks on soft targets—this is what we are seeing with exponential frequency in Europe.
For ISIS, defeat in Syria and Iraq is countered with endurance globally:
A quick glance at ISIS channels today sees the group claiming successful military operations in Mosul, Baghdad, Tikrit and Raqqa, ISIS doing its best to outwardly portray frequent successes.
Attacks in the past such as the ISIS attack at Ohio State University in 2016 that caused 13 injuries, none of them life- threatening, appear to be at the lower end of the spectrum for ISIS claims. ISIS wants to claim killings, carnage, injuries and mass panic.
Claims by ISIS typically appear on its Telegram channels several hours after the attack and usually well inside two days. While attacks vary from inspired to directed, and its unclear how much ISIS is involved with direct planning of attacks, the group may not be claiming attacks where the suspect is alive and in custody. Examples would be the June 6 Notre Dame attack and the Stockholm truck ramming attack in April which left 4 dead. Investigators may well find radicalization leads in the Flint airport stabbing, however with the suspect alive , this typically wouldn’t be claimed by ISIS.
As for the failed Champs Elysees and Brussels train station attacks, could there be a threshold for ISIS to claim as a “successful attack?” At the lowest end, there are no “crusader injuries” or mass panic to report. It is possible that claims could still emerge, if this is the work of ISIS or ISIS-inspired attackers, but at the same time, the terror group could well be “embarrassed” by such fails.
A topical example of the group’s propaganda tool would be yesterday’s bombing of the famed Al Nuri Mosque in Mosul. Historic for Muslims but also a symbol of the Islamic State, it was from there that ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi emerged from the shadows in July 2014 to call on Muslims around the world to follow him in officially declaring the Islamic State Caliphate. Following its destruction, ISIS on its Amaq newswire quickly blamed a U.S. bombing, Iraqi forces, however, have blamed ISIS for blowing up the mosque, stating that ISIS, knowing the fall of Mosul is imminent, wanted to deny the inevitable “photo opportunity” to Iraqi troops showing a liberated Al Nuri Mosque.