Bladed Weapon Attacks on MilitaêJcrsonnjftEnr9pe






1 Objective This assessment describes what is known about two recent bladed weapon attacks on military personnel m France and the UK m the context of east ma1l-sca1e and lone actor attacks, particularly those targeting military personnel. The as s&méfitlsdeyalüates theihreat to Canadian military personnel

The attacks in the UK and France appear to have targeted military personnel in public areas. Both attacks featured the use of blade weapons rather than firearms or explosives.


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Radicalization between Anti-Islamic Activists




Similarities Between the France and UK Attacks 2. There are several similarities between the two attacks the use, in both cases, of bladed weapons, the small number of attackers and the targeting of military Personnel

3. Bladed Weapons: Some media reports refer to the Woolwich attackers as having attempted to behead Private Righv. INSPIRE magazine. the Englishlanguage publication of AQ in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). has described the beheading of enemies by mujahedin in Yemen as a demonstration of respect for dead comrades. Ritual beheading of enemies has been practiced widely by a number of Islamisi extremist groups in various theatres and may be seen by extremists as a fonn of judicial punishment of LLnbelievers and other enemies. 4. Small Number of Participants: As of 2013 05 27. U K authorities had carried out 9 arrests in connection with Private Righv’s slaiing. and three of these individuals have been released. The investigation is ongoing- The I.. K 1-lome Secretary. Theresa May. has rejected characterizations of the Woolwich attack as being a lonc actor” operation, noting the number of arrests made so far.

5. Soldiers as targets: While there have been debates on jthadist fora about the legitimacy ol attacks on non-military targets. military facilities and personnel appear to he seen as acceptable targets whether depIo ed or at
home. Knife attacks on tmilbrmed security force members within Lurope ha e been




Other Islamist Krnle Attacks



UK, June 2012: A group ot’ Birminiam-hascd extimists -wee invtigated for planning to IftaCk an:English Dd’enx Leaguedemotstration. ihe arsqpal fQund in their car mnciwled a nail
bomb, shotguns and sworth.

featured in extreniNi propaganda online.
Risks to the Caiiad inn Military 6. Canadian military personnel have pre iouslv been discussed as targets by domestic extremists. Canadian niilitar facilities were
among the targets discussed both by the Toronto 1 S plottLr% in 2006 md h 1lm m

(icrmpy,-Máy 2012: MuraL Kutlu, a 26 year old Sahd$ wounded two polleenicu with a laiife

in Bonn during a protest. Tn December 2012 a hIm circtjlawd online glorifynq the attack. UK, May U10: Roshana (Dhct’uclhry used a to imuaclcMP Stpkca l’imms. She confqç4-tybeing inspi,cd, at 1ct in pail’ by’ tije qljuç, Leaching. of .Anwar ,aL-Aw4ki; thq 4cue*t4
le’ider of 42 in the Aiabw $tniliffuJ4 Thease received widespread rnttlb-aLtetuog I



Ahzadeh and Misbahuddimi Ahmned prior to their arrests on terrorism charges in 2010 08.




7. The only recent attack on a Canadian Forces facililv in Canada was the 2010 07 02 bombing of a recruiting office in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec. Responsibility was claimed by the Resistance Internationaliste, a QUebec-based group which claimed to be protesting ‘the militaristic ideals and policies of the Canadian govermnent.’

8. Canadian military personnel are present in a number ol locations in Eufope. Attackers may or may not be able to distinguish between Canadian military unifomis aid Those of oilier nations, but being identified as Canadian would not necessarily inake attack less likely. Canadian personnel have served throughout the intervention in .4fghanislan and continue to serve albeit in a non-combat role in that country. Canada has also contributed suppoil to the French intervention in Mali; prior to the collapse of that nation’s military forces. Canadian soldiers ere prominently identified in Canadian media in the summer of 2011 as being present in Mali as trainers. Subsequent media reporting noted that following the retreat of’ Malian forces from northern Mali, Canadian-trained soldiers had been targeted For torture and execution by advancing extremists.

9. The Woolwich Rigby, they awaited they had murdered the armed police and being any of the civilians present when no military targets were Mohamed Merah killed a rabbi and military target. I The Threat of Small Scale Attacks

to attack any civilians. After killing Private 5 explaining why ;by in conversation did the two men attack again, charging similarly did not attempt to harm ckers have turned on civilians :49, French lone actor shooter after failing in an attack on a

10. Small scale attacks offer advantages and disadvantages to çxtremists. Simple, straightforward attacksusing readily available weapons and minimal preparation on undefended targets &e. a Setter match with the actual capabilities of most extremists. 2

ITAC / CIET 13/29-E


Past Small Scale and Lone Actor Attacks against Military Personnel in Europe 12. Toulouse Shooter, Mohauned Merah: On 2012 03 22 Mohamed Merah was killed in an exchange of gunfire with French police after Ibllowing a 32-hour standoff Merah was responsible for three lone actor shooting attacks killing seven persons and wounding several others. His professed motive was to avenge Palestinian children and 10 attack the French army for its role in Afghanistan, telling police he was trained by AQ in Pakistan. Merahs last four victims, a rabbi and three children in Toulouse, were targets of opportunity alter he made a failed attempt on s military target.

13. Frankfurt Airport Shooter, Add Uka: On 2011 03 02 LhiticAlbanian Arid Uka shot and killed two US servicemen at the Frankfurt airport. The Islamic Movement of t.’thekistan (lMtJ) held up Uka as an example worthy of emulation in a video posted on 2012 03 08, featuring a speech entitled “Yes, We are Terrorists!” Uka was recently sentenced to life in prison lbr the shootings in March 2012.

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