Terror attacks that have targeted some of Western Europe’s most iconic landmarks have many countries revisiting their “Build Bridges Not Barriers” immigration policies, as the response to the ongoing terror spree literally remakes the face of Europe.
After the “vehicle jihad” attacks last year in Nice and Berlin, and this year in London, Paris, Stockholm, and just over a week ago in Barcelona, European authorities are throwing up bollards and barriers in the hopes of preventing similar incidents:
— AFP news agency (@AFP) August 18, 2017
And now, #Barcelona.
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) August 18, 2017
From New York to San Francisco, the barriers are going up in America, too. And for good reason.
Last November, on the first day of classes following the Thanksgiving holiday, Somali refugee Abdul Razak Ali Artan drove into a crowd of students at Ohio State — the largest college campus in the country — injuring thirteen. The Islamic State later claimed credit for the attack, calling Artan one of its “soldiers.”
The incident at Ohio State was not the first car-ramming terror attack on a U.S. college campus. In March 2006, Iranian native Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar drove his SUV through a popular area on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus called “The Pit” during lunchtime. Nine people were injured in that attack, which Taheri-azar said was done to “avenge the deaths or murders of Muslims around the world.” He had rented the SUV specifically to maximize casualties. He is currently serving a 33-year prison sentence.
Islamic terrorist groups have openly encouraged their supporters living in Western countries to use vehicles to conduct random attacks.
In October 2010, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) published in their English-language “Inspire” magazine — in a section titled “Open Source Jihad” — instructions on creating “the Ultimate Mowing Machine.”
That resulted in the FBI and DHS issuing a joint intelligence bulletin for law enforcement agencies warning of possible attacks.
After an ISIS-inspired terrorist ran down and killed a soldier in Quebec, the terror group encouraged additional attacks in their December 2014 “Dabiq” magazine. They specifically identified and targeted coalition countries targeting ISIS, including the “U.S., U.K., France, Australia, and Germany.”
Their supporters have responded to those calls for more attacks.
Earlier this month, I reported here at PJ Media on a car-ramming attack on soldiers involved in France’s Operation Sentinel anti-terror campaign. The attacker in that case was 37-year-old Bachir Hamou, an Algerian.
Just last Monday, a 51-year-old man drove into police in Paris shouting “Allah Akhbar.” According to reports, he had been listening to suras of the Koran, which were found in the car. A few hours later, 34-year-old Idriss Hamadene, a French Algerian, rammed into two separate shelters, killing two. Authorities claimed that the incident was not terror-related.
As the New York Times reported last week in the wake of the Barcelona attacks, Europe is now fortifying its most prominent and iconic monuments and public spaces, and securing their most famous events and venues, due to such attacks:
How European cities are dealing with vehicle attacks: barriers, bollards and later starts for Oktoberfest https://t.co/iThsZi5FFQ
— New York Times World (@nytimesworld) August 22, 2017
And it’s changing the face of Europe.
A German woman injured in the Barcelona terror attack died earlier today, raising the death toll there to sixteen. Now Spanish cities are acting to prevent future attacks:
A list of measures that Spain’s largest cities are taking to prevent attacks like the one last week in Barcelona https://t.co/9xiGi9knJw
— El País English Edition (@elpaisinenglish) August 24, 2017
In the UK, where they’ve seen two jihadist-inspired ramming attacks in London this year and a suicide bombing of an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, the barriers are going up:
— Ashr (@Ashmyr613) June 25, 2017
Birmingham tree to be cut down and replaced with concrete barriers to protect city from Berlin-style attack https://t.co/fCJCcgsqXz
— Telegraph Breaking News (@TelegraphNews) January 11, 2017
Even at the Wimbledon tennis tournament:
London: Build bridges not walls.
Also London pic.twitter.com/I86M7IoGx5
— The Self Provisioner – Neil M White (@ThisDadDoes) July 4, 2017
Even before an attempted terror attack at the Eiffel Tower in Paris earlier this month, French authorities were planning to build a protective barrier around France’s most iconic monument:
— The Sunday Times (@thesundaytimes) June 25, 2017
As noted by the New York Times, Oktoberfest officials in Munich have established new rules preventing any truck deliveries after opening festival halls to visitors, even pushing back the traditional 8:00 a.m. starting time.
Following the truck attack on the Christmas market in Berlin this past December, which killed twelve, barriers quickly appeared all over Germany:
— SETH is not a bot (@Tipsongold) February 6, 2017
— Tobi Bluhm (@TobiTweetings) April 13, 2017
Germany had to turn to a country that is already familiar with car-ramming terror attacks — Israel:
— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) December 24, 2016
For some, the barriers have become political symbols criticizing Merkel’s immigration policies:
— ＲＩＥＤＬ👌👍 (@ri3dl) December 23, 2016
And now Cologne’s famed cathedral is getting a security makeover:
— Reuters (@Reuters) August 23, 2017
Security barriers are also going up around Milan’s cathedral:
— Vocal Europe (@thevocaleurope) August 21, 2017
Perhaps coincidentally, the Berlin attacker, Tunisian Anis Amri, was killed in a shootout in Milan, and the city saw an ISIS-inspired knife attack on police and soldiers patrolling the Milan’s main train station back in May.
So barriers are going up all over Italy:
— Alex Dean (@UKTravelBlogger) August 21, 2017
At the Vatican, too:
— Reuters (@Reuters) August 25, 2017
Most European cities are increasing security in the wake of the vehicle attacks, such as Copenhagen:
"This is to prevent outrages like Barcelona" https://t.co/6C5SSl12z6
— Flandersnews.be (@flandersnews) August 19, 2017
Earlier this summer in Finland’s capital of Helsinki, authorities constructed barriers in front of a famous underground church they believed was being targeted by a terror plot:
Finland erects concrete barriers against possible terror attack https://t.co/pPHNZ4YbNe
— Yle News (@ylenews) June 20, 2017
And on the other side of the planet, Australia is getting prepared:
— 7NEWS Sydney (@7NewsSydney) June 23, 2017
— The Courier-Mail (@couriermail) August 26, 2017
— 7NEWS Melbourne (@7NewsMelbourne) June 23, 2017
Here in the U.S., obvious targets such as New York City are constantly working to improve their security:
— NYPDCounterterrorism (@NYPDCT) August 23, 2017
But now other cites, including Miami, New Orleans, and San Francisco, are paying attention to the problem as well:
Miami Beach installs concrete barriers on Lincoln Road to ward off car attacks https://t.co/Uab0DANIHf
— Sydney Pereira (@sydneyp1234) August 26, 2017
Bourbon Street security barriers appear in the French Quarter https://t.co/2FH27bxcbF
— NOLA.com (@NOLAnews) February 21, 2017
Latest addition to work-in-progress Salesforce Tower, relevant in light of today's Barcelona horror: sidewalk security bollards pic.twitter.com/oUTJZg2Sb6
— John King (@JohnKingSFChron) August 17, 2017
Earlier this month in Fremont, California, officials brought in a dozen 15,000 pound barriers for their annual arts festival:
— NBC Bay Area (@nbcbayarea) August 6, 2017
Fremont has good reason to be cautious, since an Afghan refugee ran down nineteen people, killing one, with his SUV in 2006. Omed Aziz Popal claimed the people were evil and needed to be killed. Charged with murder and attempted murder, he was found not guilty by reason of insanity.
Canada is also taking note of the trend:
Police will be erecting large barriers to deter deadly truck attacks similar to those seen in Nice and Berlin. https://t.co/DsfAAkf7Tc
— Globalnews.ca (@globalnews) December 30, 2016
The Barcelona barrier boom is also prompting new developments in technology to defeat car-ramming attacks. In Amsterdam, they’re trying a new form of asphalt to defeat attacks:
— De Speld (@DeSpeld) August 26, 2017
The problem has spawned a whole new art form — “crisis architecture”:
One of my favorite examples of crisis architecture. The Arsenal letters look nice, and they'll stop a car attack. pic.twitter.com/uA5KhCBd2Q
— Daveed Gartenstein-Ross (@DaveedGR) August 17, 2017
Another example is the IAM-sterdam sculpture placed in front of the square in front of the Rijksmuseum:
— I amsterdam (@Iamsterdam) June 3, 2017
In Copenhagen, they are adding trees to their terror barriers to make them more pedestrian and eco-friendly:
— JP Aarhus (@jpaarhus) August 23, 2017
With terror attacks hitting Western countries on an almost-daily basis (sometimes more than daily), one must assume that more cities and countries will continue to upgrade all forms of protection against terror attacks.
The result, however, is literally changing the face of the world as we know it. Perhaps permanently.