The latest jihad-by-truck deadly attack on Berlin’s Breitscheidplatz’s Christmas market, could and should have been prevented. But the German security agencies failed to arrest/deport Anis Amri, the Tunisian criminal, asylum seeker with known ties to radical Islamists groups, who was overheard volunteering as a suicide bomber. Apparently, their political correctness, enforced by government policies and decades-long pressure from rapidly growing Muslim communities yielded the Islamists’ desired results. Videos from ISIS instructing jihad-by tracks attacks, especially during the Chrisitan holidays were ignored, as were last month’s U.S. warning. Incredibly, no efforts were made to even secure open Christmas markets. Why not?
They should have seen it coming. Last week, following ISIS latest jihadist propaganda campaign, the German police arrested a 12-year-old boy in the city of Ludwigshafen, for placing explosives at Christmas markets, twice. Why was he let go after his first failed attempt? Because the German criminal code does not allow the prosecution of juveniles under the age of 14.
And if the Germans did not take the U.S. warning seriously, they should have taken Islamist truck-jihad propaganda seriously. Palestinian terrorists used such attacks against Israeli civilians, and last July, in neighboring France, ISIS-affiliated Mohamed Lahouaieji, drove a refrigerated 19-ton truck into crowds celebrating Bastille Day on the wide open, unprotected Promenade des Anglais in Nice. He killed 86 and wounded 434 people in an attack could have been prevented. But the local police removed the road barriers that were in place earlier that day to protect the military parade.
In “The Christmas Market Horror –Warnings Changed NothingIn Germany,” Stephen Bryen noted that “the authorities –despite the warnings– did very little to protect Christmas markets. The area could have been protected by heavy cement Jersey barriers put there on a temporary basis. Looking at the overhead view, it is clear there was adequate room to place such barriers. A ten foot Jersey barriers section weighs almost 5,000 pounds. Because they feature curved sides, Jersey barriers are used to protect against vehicles “jumping” lanes, including trucks. While not a perfect solution, temporary jersey barriers would have likely saved lives. Another alternative would be permanent cable barriers along the periphery of the Christmas Markets. Had there been a desire to install them, there was time between the warnings received of a threat to Christmas Markets and the December 19th attack. Cable barriers are regarded as more effective than Jersey barriers.
When it comes to security to try and prevent attacks, the more security forces are visible and present; the less likely an attack will be planned and carried out. The objective of ISIS-led attacks, like other terrorist-led operations, is to inflict maximum casualties and create a horror that will destabilize the government and undermine the confidence citizens have in law enforcement. The lack of any visible deterrent characterizes the Christmas market attack in Berlin.
In England, where there was a credible deterrent, left wingers criticized it. One of them wrote: “Safety is the last message this [police] presence is sending out. It’s sad, and an extreme over reaction to a very slim chance of a terrorist attack. More likely to be hit by a drunk driver.” Nothing better illustrates the stupidity that is overtaking Europe these days, some of it washing up on our shores too.
It is no small thing to stop a speeding truck. The truck used in the Berlin attack was a 25-ton vehicle, and it was packed with a load of steel girders that were supposed to be delivered to customers in Berlin. All reports to date show that the truck was hijacked. The trucking company owner says he lost contact with the driver (his cousin) and could not reach him. The truck had stopped and started a number of times and was not being driven correctly. Unfortunately, so far as is known, the errant truck was not reported to authorities so police in Berlin had no information there could have been a hijacking or that a truck had gone missing that was heading to Berlin.
One useful step that security agencies in Europe should demand is a mandatory alert system that identifies the location of vehicles.
Trucking in Europe, as in the U.S., is closely regulated so the potential exists to track these vehicles and warn if routes are abridged or other unusual information reaches trucking company managers. The fact the truck in the Berlin attack was modern, equipped with GPS and monitoring equipment, indicates that the trucking company could have reported the situation to law enforcement when the truck apparently went missing. But to bring this into focus, security agencies need to put out a bulletin or warning to trucking companies explaining the risks and asking them for any unusual information,” says Bryen,
There are ways to mitigate, if not stop terrorist attacks. But the Germans apparently lacked the political will to take such measures. Would the Berlin-Christmas-Market terror attack wake up the Germans and other Europeans to the jihadist threat? Probably not.