Coordination seems likely, but not confirmed
Early this morning, we reported on the brutal terror attacks near Lyon, France that left one person decapitated and at least two others wounded. An ISIS flag was spotted over the scene of the attack—but the extremists didn’t stop there.
Terrorists went on a three continent killing spree today, also attacking sites in Tunisia and Kuwait.
Popular Tunisian coastal town Sousse was soaked in blood earlier today after terrorists opened fire on a beach. 37 were killed and 36 injured, some of them tourists.
Meanwhile in Kuwait, 25 people are dead and 200 are injured after a mosque bombing:
ISIS claimed responsibility for what it called a suicide bombing at the Shiite-affiliated Al-Sadiq mosque. The group put the number of dead and injured in the dozens.
Cell phone video posted to social media and apparently shot at the mosque showed worshippers walking and stumbling through a dust- and rubble-filled interior, many with their white robes splattered in what appeared to be blood.
Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah toured the damaged mosque ahead of emergency Cabinet and parliamentary meetings, the Kuwait News Agency reported.
The country’s Justice and Islamic Affairs minister, Yaqoub Al-Sanea, called the attack “a terrorist and criminal act that threatens our security and targets our national unity,” the news agency said.
It looks coordinated. It feels coordinated; Pentagon officials, however, have been slow to label this an ISIS conspiracy, instead emphasizing that both the Pentagon and the State Department are still investigating. ISIS claimed credit for the attacks in Kuwait, but not the other two attacks.
Still, in terms of the call and response between ISIS and their supporters, it’s reasonable to posit that, even if they’re not responsible for these attacks, they’re surely their ideological driving force:
While there was little to suggest any co-ordination between the atrocities, experts noted that they came shortly after ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani called on supporters to step up their activities.
“O mujahidin everywhere, rush and move to make Ramadan a month of disaster,” he said Tuesday, encouraging Islamists to “embark and hasten towards jihad.”
Charlie Winter, of London’s Quilliam Foundation, said: “Whether or not there is any link at all between these attacks, they are likely to be inspired by the same ideals.”
Olivier Guitta, security analyst with GlobalStrat, said the Tunisia attack was “a major PR coup for ISIS,” even if the group was not directly responsible.
“Terrorists, and Islamists in particular, want to target a country that has gone through the Arab Spring and has made it ‘OK’,” he said. “It is important for them that people in the West start fearing going about their business.”
Friday’s attacks showed that ISIS has the ability to inspire attacks even by supporters with no direct connection, he added.
Even before today’s terror attacks, US intelligence officials were worried that the globe—and specifically the United States—could be in for a violent midsummer. The authorities are keeping their eye out for chatter related specifically to the July 4 weekend; they believe the symbolic nature of the holiday will serve as a magnet for “ISIS-inspired” attacks. Their belief is based on both “intelligence and analysis,” but as of now officials haven’t offered any specific details as to locations or events that could be targeted.
I’m 30 now; when I was 10 years old and dreaming of someday watching the 4th of July fireworks from the National Mall as I plan to do this Independence Day, I never dreamed it would be under the cloud of a terror threat.
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