Back in August after the terror attack in Barcelona that killed 15 people and injured 131 more in the La Rambla downtown tourist area, I noted here at PJ Media that Islamic vehicle-ramming terror attacks were literally remaking the face of Europe and America.
— AFP news agency (@AFP) August 18, 2017
— PJ Media (@PJMedia_com) November 15, 2017
Here in the U.S., just a month after the terror attack in Manhattan that killed 8 and injured 11, and nearly a year after the vehicle-ramming attack at Ohio State University that injured 11, homeland security officials are also preparing for possible terror attacks.
But gift-wrapping traffic bollards and painting concrete barriers to look like Legos barely conceal the new grim reality.
In Germany, which saw an attack last year on the Berlin Christmas market that killed 12 and injured 40 by an illegal Tunisian immigrant who was scheduled for deportation and who was already known to intelligence officials, traffic bollards are going up everywhere.
— ntv Nachrichten (@ntvde) November 23, 2017
— WELT (@welt) November 24, 2017
Deutsche Welle reports:
Bochum authorities placed a string of 1.2 ton pellet bags in the downtown area to avert potential terror attacks ahead of the seasonal opening of the local Christmas market.
On Thursday morning, however, the bags took on a holiday look, with the city’s official marketing service turning them into novelty Christmas presents.
“For us it was very important to fit in those ugly barriers into the beautiful overall atmosphere,” said the head of Bochum Marketing Mario Schiefelbein.
The move surprised both local residents and the police, as the service reportedly giftwrapped up all of the 20 bags overnight without forewarning […]
Bochum is not the only city to put a bow on new security measures. In the Bavarian city of Augsburg, for example, authorities will use decorated trucks belonging to Christmas market stall owners as car barriers. Munich officials plan to block the streets with planters containing season-appropriate evergreen plants.
The first Christmas market in Berlin was opened earlier this month and is surrounded by concrete bollards and armed police:
— Berliner Zeitung (@berlinerzeitung) November 3, 2017
And the site of the last year’s terror attack in Berlin is also receiving new decorations:
— Independent.ie (@Independent_ie) November 13, 2017
But some in Berlin are not entirely satisfied with the level of security preparations, believing they don’t go far enough:
— BZ Berlin B.Z. (@bzberlin) November 21, 2017
In Hamburg, traffic bollards are being painted as Legos and stenciled with the hardly reassuring “more color, less fear” slogan:
— Berliner Zeitung (@berlinerzeitung) December 23, 2016
Nuremberg is ramping up security for its Christmas market, too:
— DW News (@dwnews) November 26, 2017
The UK saw two separate vehicle-ramming attacks this year in the heart of London, and authorities there are taking measures to increase security for holiday festivities.
Birmingham has one of the largest Christmas markets in the UK, and officials are trying to reassure citizens that they’re not reacting to any specific threat but just acting out of general concern for public safety.
Grey concrete bollards have been placed around Victoria Square in #Birmingham ahead of the German Market which opens on November 16. Anti-terror police are not reacting to a specific threat. pic.twitter.com/8V5o5JBT4V
— Free Radio News (@freeradionews) October 26, 2017
— Birmingham Updates (@BhamUpdates) October 26, 2017
Officials elsewhere are somewhat more candid:
— ITV News WestCountry (@itvwestcountry) November 20, 2017
Large barriers have been installed in Bath city centre for the first time ahead of the Christmas Market.
More than 400,000 people are expected to visit the market which runs from 23 November until 10 December 2017.
The barriers alongside new and replacement bollards, installed over the last month, are designed to restrict access for vehicles, and make it safer for pedestrians to get around the city centre.
The so-called ‘rings of steel’ have been installed at festive markets across the country amid the increased terror threat.
Other cities in the UK are also stepping up security for this Christmas markets:
Security bollards and barriers have been put up around Bury St Edmund's Christmas market this year, but Heart's been speaking to people there today who say it hasn't put them off from going –
hear more in the #news this afternoon #HeartNews pic.twitter.com/zWlA7QXUfb
— East Anglia News (@HeartAngliaNews) November 23, 2017
Cops step up security at Glasgow Christmas Market after Berlin terror attack https://t.co/M4bPT7JTqN
— The Scottish Sun (@ScottishSun) November 10, 2017
As in Germany, some UK cities are trying to mask the intent of the new security measures by adding a touch of holiday cheer.
Hull's anti-terror bollards wrapped up for Christmas https://t.co/oPhboeN3Yz
— Hull Live (@hulllive) November 22, 2017
In Paris, city officials cancelled their annual Christmas market on the iconic Champs-Elysées, which has seen two separate terror attacks already this year.
— The Local France (@TheLocalFrance) November 8, 2017
As I noted previously, ISIS supporters are openly encouraging more attacks during the holiday season this year.
In addition to the Berlin Christmas market attack, events last year give solid evidence to the reality of the terror threat.
Two of those injured in Berlin were from Texas:
— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 22, 2016
Another attempted attack was a failed suicide bombing by a 12-year-old German-Iraqi boy at a Christmas market in Ludwigshafen:
— DrRustyShackleford (@mypetjawa) December 16, 2016
As Germany was still reeling from the terror attack in Berlin, two brothers originally from Kosovo were arrested for planning an attack on the largest shopping mall in Germany:
Earlier this year I reported from Cairo on my exclusive visit to the site of the suicide bombing at the Coptic church directly beside the city’s cathedral during Advent services. In all, 29 were killed in that terror attack — all but one women and girls.
— Patrick Poole (@pspoole) May 9, 2017
On Christmas Eve, two Christian men were killed and another injured in Baghdad by an Islamist assassin:
Two Iraqi Christians murdered by an Islamist assassin in Baghdad yesterday, a third seriously injured https://t.co/XS3mvO3mbv
— Patrick Poole (@pspoole) December 24, 2016
On Christmas Eve, a bomb exploded during services at a church in Mindanao, Philippines:
At least 12 injured in an explosion at a church during Christmas celebration in the restive southern island of Mindanao #Philippines
— News_Executive (@News_Executive) December 24, 2016
A bomb was left outside of a church in Toulouse:
Merry Christmas, infidels ==> Mystery remains over makeshift explosive found at French church https://t.co/TOKqHXyZvO
— Patrick Poole (@pspoole) December 16, 2016
And terror plots targeting Christmas festivities were stopped in Indonesia, Belgium and Austria:
— FRANCE 24 (@FRANCE24) December 21, 2016
Merry Christmas, infidel ==> Belgium: 10 Teenagers Arrested For Plotting Christmas Bomb Blast Attacks https://t.co/5eF3QCYnuo
— Patrick Poole (@pspoole) December 19, 2016
Austria arrests failed asylum seeker who was ‘planning Christmas terrorist attack’ — RT News https://t.co/iCYZGyhQJz
— El_Grillo (@El_Grillo1) December 21, 2016
Here in the U.S., an ISIS supporter in Arizona who had researched “midnight mass” during his preparations was arrested:
— Nick Short 🇺🇸 (@PoliticalShort) December 24, 2016
An advanced plot was also uncovered in Melbourne, Australia, involving several individuals planning a series of terror attacks across the city on Christmas Day.
Tragedy may have been averted by just two days in Victoria. Police foiled a terrorist plot to target Melbourne landmarks on Christmas Day. pic.twitter.com/f1I5aun1qU
— 7NEWS Adelaide (@7NewsAdelaide) December 23, 2016
In past years, we’ve seen various Christmas-related terror plots and attempted attacks going back to 2000 and the targeting of the Strasbourg Christmas market — the largest and oldest in Europe running since 1570.
Christmas markets long been a target for Islamists. AQ trained operatives planned an bomb attack on Christmas market in Strasbourg 2000.
— Robin Simcox (@RobinSimcox) December 19, 2016
In Dec. 2010, Iraqi-born suicide bomber Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly prematurely detonated one of his explosive devices on his way to kill Christmas shoppers in downtown Stockholm, Sweden:
Terror: U.K.'s New Christmas Export: Sweden may change after its first suicide bombing. More urgently, thing… http://on.wsj.com/ikjgMF
— WSJ Editorial Page (@WSJopinion) December 15, 2010
Just days before that attempted Swedish suicide bombing, Somali refugee Mohamed Mohamud attempted to detonate a bomb at the Nov. 26, 2010, Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, Oregon, for which he was sentenced to 30 years in prison:
— KVAL News (@KVALnews) October 1, 2014
And two years ago we saw the terror attack on an office Christmas party in San Bernardino, California, by husband and wife team Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik that killed 14 and injured 24.
So all the security precautions for holiday events this year are rooted in a long history of increasing threats and actual attacks, not unwarranted fear-mongering.
Cities around the world can gift wrap or otherwise spruce up security measures as much as they want, but that in no way diminishes the real terror threat that has now become an established part of the Christmas season.