Schools and hospitals in western Europe are likely to be the next targets of ‘lone wolf’ terrorists unless French President Emmanuel Macron apologises for his remarks on Islam and for defending the publication of cartoons featuring the Prophet Mohammed.
That’s the view of analysts who spoke to This Week in Asia following three deadly terror attacks over the past month in France and Austria.
“At this point no state is immune to terrorism. It could happen tomorrow in Germany, Spain, Denmark, the UK, Belgium,” said Olivier Guitta, managing director of GlobalStrat, an international security firm, warning that schools and hospitals were among “likely potential targets in the next few months”.
He said countries across Europe needed to raise their threat levels – as Britain did last week – following attacks in Nice and Vienna, as jihadist groups had been calling for further attacks at a time when “antagonism with Western values” was increasing.
Britain has raised its terror threat level to “severe” following the attacks, meaning an incident is considered “highly likely”.
Western Europe has been shocked by a string of deadly attacks that began on October 16, when French high schoolteacher Samuel Paty was beheaded by an attacker angered that he had shown his students cartoons of the Prophet published in 2015 by the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo .
Muslims consider any depiction of the Prophet as blasphemous. On Oct 29 three people were killed in a knife attack in the French city of Nice and on November 2 a heavily armed man shot dead four people in Vienna, Austria.
Meanwhile, a former senior figure of al-Qaeda in Southeast Asia told This Week in Asia that Macron’s words had “insulted Islam”, violated people’s rights and could awaken “sleeper cells from
“Every faith lives in full respect of each other. That’s why the existence of such a publication is impossible here, including when taking into account our existing laws,” Peskov was quoted as saying by the Moscow Times last week.
Meanwhile in Indonesia, the police counterterrorism squad Detachment88 arrested six suspected terrorists last Thursday and Saturday.
Four suspects from Jemaah Islamiah were arrested in Lampung, Sumatra island last Saturday, a police source said.
Another two suspects from the Islamic State-linked Jemaah Ansharut Daulah were arrested in Padang, Sumatra.
“These two were planning terror attacks targeting police in Padang,” said the source.
This article was first published in Asia One . All contents and images are copyright to their respective owners and sources.