Vienna and Nice attacks show terror ‘hasn’t gone away and can strike anywhere’

Terrorism has reared its ugly head yet again in Europe after a wave of brutal attacks in recent weeks.

Victims have been killed in Vienna, Paris and Nice as extremists and ISIS sympathisers attempt to sow fear among communities.

As the world deals with the coronavirus pandemic and countries are locked down, an expert says it serves as a grim reminder the terror threat hasn’t gone away.

Security specialist Will Geddes said people are realising “that international terrorism is alive and well – it hasn’t gone away”.

The terrorists are trying to claim they can “strike at any time and in anywhere”, he added.

His warning comes after the UK raised its terror threat level to "severe" – meaning an attack is "highly likely" – following the European attacks.

He said: “The biggest challenge is people get lulled into this false sense of security and think there hasn’t been an attack in a long time.

"They don’t think about it until it’s tangible and in your face.”

He added: “Vienna is a stark reminder that terrorism can strike pretty much anywhere.

“Terrorism is still alive and sadly well.”

Mr Geddes, the founder of the International Corporate Protection (ICP) Group, pointed out the recent atrocities happened shortly before Austria and France went into lockdown.

He said: “During the stringent parts of lockdown, many terrorists were under curfew and couldn’t move around, and could only chat online using messenger apps.

“It moved terrorism onto a more communication level because they couldn’t get together and meet others.

“You have got these windows of opportunity that are now presenting themselves.

“I think there’s a commonality between the recent attacks in Vienna and Nice. They happened on the eve of lockdown.

  • Nice 'terrorist' tests positive for Covid-19 in French hospital after knife rampage

“It’s a case of ‘now or never’. It’s expediting the plan.

“They are going to want to find that window where people are together in one place.

“You have got everybody out in bars and restaurants, probably more than normally.”

He said the jihadists would see it as a case of “you either wait another month, or expedite the plan now”.

Whether they “get themselves killed now or in a month is irrelevant, other than to further the cause”, he added.

He also said Vienna isn’t an “identifiable or recognisable landmark” like Paris or London, so what we are seeing is a “shift in dynamic” from the terrorists.

  • Vienna terror attack: ISIS claims responsibility for deadly night of violence in Austrian capital

Mr Geddes said: “Their message is to say, we can strike at any time and in anywhere.

“It’s saying, ‘we are going to surprise you and attack you in places where you least expect it’.

“They are always going to look for the path of least resistance.”

Extremists are trying to claim no countries in Europe “should believe you are exempt from our possible attack”, he added.

Mr Geddes warned: “It’s not a resurgence – Islamic State never went away.

“They have continued to operate in Iraq and Syria. They are continually pushing their message out.”

But he said social distancing is “beneficial” in terms of safety, as people “are respecting people’s personal space more”.

And it means people “can’t come in too close without it seeming suspicious”.

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