Homeland Security

Closing Out 2016's 'Summer of Terror': Over the Past 90 Days, 20 Terror Attacks in Western Countries

On the evening of July 14, citizens and tourists gathered on the promenade in Nice, France, to celebrate Bastille Day, but the night would end in horror as the celebrations turned into the largest terrorist attack during 2016’s “Summer of Terror.”

The Nice attack, which took place just 90 days ago, would mark the midpoint of a near-constant stream of terror attacks in the West that began with the June 12 mass shooting at the Pulse night club in Orlando by Omar Mateen.

Since the Nice attack, at least 20 terror attacks in Western countries have been committed—one nearly every 100 hours.

That pace is just slightly off from how this year’s “Summer of Terror” began. Two weeks after the Nice attack, I noted that the pace was nearly one every 84 hours:

That statistic ended up widely circulated in the media, and the attacks would continue up through this past weekend, with this year’s recently concluded summer earning its moniker.


Below I chronicle the 20 terror attacks in Western countries over the past 90 days. I’ve excluded events of unknown or disputed motive, including those in Vincennes, France; Reutlingen, Germany; Uccle, Belgium; Munich, Germany; Queensland, Australia; a French Alps resort; a nightclub bombing this past weekend in Malmo, Sweden; and a stabbing in Rome by a Moroccan immigrant.

July 14 – Nice, France: During Bastille Day celebrations in the French coastal town of Nice, a Tunisian immigrant, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, drove an 18-ton cargo truck through the crowd, killing 84 and injuring 434 people. Two days later the attack was claimed by the Islamic State, calling Lahouaiej-Bouhlel “a soldier of the Islamic State.” The killer and his accomplices had been planning the attack for nearly a year.

July 19 – Wurzburg, Germany: Seventeen-year-old Afghan refugee Riyaz Khan attacked passengers on a train with an axe and a knife while shouting “Allah Akhbar,” injuring five people. Khan reportedly was “seeking revenge on the infidels.” ISIS later released a video of Khan pledging allegiance to the Islamic State.

July 26 – Rouen, France: Two ISIS terrorists stormed a Roman Catholic church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray during morning mass, slitting the throat of 86-year-old Father Jacques Hamel as they they forced a parishioner to video the killing. They shouted “Allahu Akhbar” as they stabbed and critically injured him. The two killers, Adel Kermiche and Abdel Malik Petitjean, had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, which released their video the following day. Kermiche had twice attempted to travel to Syria to join ISIS and was wearing an electronic ankle monitoring bracelet, and Petitjean had also attempted to travel to Syria and was known to French authorities. They were both killed while leaving the church and charging police.

July 24 – Ansbach, Germany: Suicide bomber Mohammad Daleel attempted to enter a well-attended music festival, but was denied entry. He then detonated his backpack bomb outside a nearby wine bar, injuring 15 people. A 27-year-old refugee from Aleppo, Syria, Daleel had claimed asylum but was scheduled for deportation. The bomb was built in the refugee center. He was in direct communication with ISIS operatives just minutes before the attack, and ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack the following day.

August 3 – London, England: An American woman was murdered and five others injured in a stabbing attack near Russell Square in the heart of London. The suspect, 19-year-old Zakaria Bulhan, was a Somali who had moved to England from Norway.

August 6 – Charleroi, Belgium: Two female police officers stationed outside their police station were attacked by a 33-year-old Algerian, Khaled Babbouri, who swung a machete at their heads while shouting “Allahu Akhbar.” Babbouri was shot dead by another police officer. He had been living illegally in Belgium since 2012 and attended a mosque in Farciennes. The Islamic State later claimed credit for the attack.

August 9 – Ontario, Canada: A terror suspect and known ISIS supporter already out on a peace bond was stopped by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and was shot and killed during a standoff with police after he had detonated an explosive device inside a cab, injuring himself and the driver. Aaron Driver, aka Harun Abdurahman, had planned an imminent suicide attack on a major Canadian city and had several explosive devices with him at the time of the confrontation.

August 18 – Strasbourg, France: An Orthodox Jewish rabbi was stabbed by a man shouting “Allahu Akhbar” as he was on his way to synagogue. The suspect, who has not been publicly named by police, had previously attacked another Jewish man in 2010 with an iron bar.

August 20 – Roanoke, Virginia: A couple entering their apartment were attacked by knife-wielding 20-year-old Wasil Rafat Farooqui shouting “Allahu Akhbar” before fighting him off. He was arrested by police when he showed up at the same hospital as his victims. Farooqui was already on the FBI’s radar, having already traveled to Germany and Turkey in an attempt to reach Syria, but he was never charged with the attempt.

August 27 – Oberhausen, Germany: A 26-year-old man shouting “Allahu Akhbar” attacked and repeatedly stabbed an older couple picnicking at a local music festival. Authorities have not publicly named the suspect.

August 30 – Toulouse, France: A 31-year-old Algerian, Abderrahmane Amara, entered the Rempart Saint-Etienne police station claiming he wanted to lodge a complaint, but then stabbed a police officer in the neck while shouting he was “sick of France.” Despite claims by the prosecutor that Amara was mentally ill, he was previously known to authorities for throwing a Molotov cocktail at police and a synagogue during a pro-Palestinian demonstration in 2014.

August 31 – Copenhagen, Denmark: A 25-year-old Bosnia-born Danish citizen, Mesa Hodzic, linked to the militant Islamic group Millatu Ibrahim and a sympathizer of ISIS, shot two police officers and a civilian in the Christiania neighborhood known for drug trafficking. Hodzic died two days later due to injuries from the shootout with police. Two days later, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

Next page: September and October attacks

September 4 – Val-d’Oise, France: A 24-year-old inmate at the Osny prison, Bilal Taghi, serving a five year sentence for attempting to join ISIS in Syria, stabbed two prison guards in what investigators suspect was an act of terror. After the stabbing he drew a heart on the wall with his victims’ blood before beginning to pray. Remarkably, Taghi was part of France’s deradicalization program at the prison.

September 4 – Paris, France: Three women were arrested after a car filled with gas cylinders was discovered near Notre Dame Cathedral. The trio had planned to bomb the Gare de Lyon train station in central Paris. One of the women had written a pledge of allegiance to the Islamic State. Another stabbed a police officer as she was being arrested. The third had previously been engaged to one of the ISIS operatives who murdered Father Jacques Hamel in Rouen in late July.

September 10 – Minto, Australia: Twenty-two-year-old Ihsas Khan stabbed a 59-year-old man who was walking through a park in suburban Sydney. Khan was charged with a terrorist act that authorities described as “inspired by ISIS.”

September 17 – Seaside, New Jersey: A pipe bomb detonated inside a trash can alongside the route of the Seaside Semper Five Marine Corps charity race. Other explosive devices were tied to the bomb that went off. No one was injured and the suspect, Ahmad Khan Rahami, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Afghanistan, was captured several days later.

September 17 – New York City, New York: Just hours after the bombing in Seaside, New Jersey, Ahmad Khan Rahami placed a pressure cooker bomb on a busy street in the Chelsea district of Manhattan. The explosion injured 29 people. Another backpack with explosives was found two days later in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Rahami was captured after a shootout with police, where they discovered he had a notebook that made reference to an ISIS leader who had been killed in a U.S. drone strike several weeks before.

September 17 – St. Cloud, Minnesota: The Crossroads shopping mall was targeted in a stabbing attack by 20-year-old Somali refugee Dahir Adan. Ten people were injured as Adan stabbed shoppers and mall workers while shouting “Allahu Akhbar” and asking victims whether they were Muslim. The attack was only stopped by an off-duty police officer who shot and killed Adan. The following day the Islamic State claimed credit for the attack, and FBI Director James Comey testified before Congress that Adan was inspired by “extremist ideology.”

October 5 – Brussels, Belgium: One police officer was stabbed in the neck and another stabbed in the stomach by a 43-year-old Belgian national, Hicham Diop, in the Schaerbeek district of Brussels. The suspect had links to jihadists who had traveled to Syria. An eyewitness claimed that he was shouting in Arabic during the attack.

October 8 – Chemnitz, Germany: A botched police raid acting on a tip of an impending Islamic State attack led to the escape of 22-year-old Syrian refugee Jaber Albakr, who was planning an imminent attack on an airport in Berlin. Police confiscated more than 3 pounds of explosives from his apartment. Albakr was captured in Leipzig after a two-day manhunt and several of his associates have also been arrested.

Meanwhile, the Islamic State has called for more attacks in the West, including replicating the Nice attack, using baseball bats and power drills and calling for knife attacks in alleys, forests, beaches, and quiet neighborhoods.

2016’s “Summer of Terror” may be over, but with three more months left this year, the attacks this year most likely won’t be.